HONG KONG — Maersk Group will relocate its China and North Asia office from Hong Kong to Beijing, a reflection of the importance of China business to the world’s largest container carrier and its confidence in the country’s future potential.
On 6 May, the Maersk Group announced that it will relocate the office of the Chairman of Maersk China Ltd and North Asia Group Representative from Hong Kong to Beijing as of 1 July 2015.
Tim Smith, presently holding the positions as North Asia regional chief executive for Maersk Line as well as chairman of Maersk China Ltd., will relinquish his North Asia position on July 1 to focus on the role of chairman of Maersk China and chief representative of the Maersk Group in North Asia.
“We have chosen to relocate the office of the chairman to Beijing in consideration of the importance of China to our group. Mainland China is by far the largest cargo origin for our transportation related activities,” Smith said in a statement.
“In addition, we have considerable investments and a large procurement programme in China. With China’s economy being in transition, we need to be close to stakeholders in business and government to ensure that we identify opportunities and evolve in step with the needs and expectations of our customers. Moving the chairman function to Beijing will allow us to pay even closer attention to these opportunities.”
Smith said his regional group representative role would allow him to provide added support for Maersk’s activities in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, which were significant and important markets in their own right.
Smith has worked in the container shipping industry for 30 years, with much of that time in Asia. Initially with P&O Containers and then P&O Nedlloyd, Smith has been with Maersk Line since their acquisition of P&O Nedlloyd in 2005. He was appointed CEO of Maersk Line in North Asia in 2008.
Maersk China is the investment company in China of the Maersk Group. It manages 14,000 employees in 123 offices and 41 cities across the country. Procurement of the group in 2014 in China reached $2.6 billion, and 118 ships have been built for Maersk in China.
The group operates business in China through 8 business units: Maersk Line, Damco, APM Terminals, Maersk Container Industry, Maersk Global Service Centers, Maersk Procurement, Far East Asia Liner Operations Cluster and Svitzer.