Maersk back away from US Tanker Military contracts


According to John Thompson, Senior Correspondent from GCaptain, Maersk, a major player in U.S. military logistics, has made a surprising move. It’s divesting its U.S. flagged tanker fleet and select military contracts to Maritime Partners. This decision comes as geopolitical tensions in the Pacific rise, and the U.S. renews its maritime focus.

Maersk’s long-standing commitment to its U.S.-flagged fleet is changing due to challenges within the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD), which lacks resources. The company is also boosting its investments globally, including in China.

While Maersk intends to maintain support for container services and the U.S. Maritime Security Program, it has divested critical tanker assets. This move has raised concerns, given the U.S. military’s projected need for tankers in the event of a major conflict in the Pacific.

The U.S. government’s complicated shipbuilding and procurement policies have contributed to this situation. China’s generous subsidies and commercial-friendly contracts have outpaced U.S. shipyards. The Jones Act, favoring domestic carriers, has created additional challenges.

These complex factors have led Maersk to part ways with its tanker assets. The company is now under new ownership by Maritime Partners, which is unburdened by Jones Act restrictions.

Questions Remain

Two questions remain. First, if war breaks out and these tankers are asked to respond, will Maritime Partners be able to provide the full support of a giant global company like Maersk?

The second question is, will the administration meet with allied shipbuilders and large shipping companies like Maersk to find mutually beneficial arrangements? Or will they leave contracting to the understaffed US Maritime Administration while issuing statements like the one Biden made about the shipping companies in June of last year “Every once in a while, something you learn makes you viscerally angry. Like, if you had the person in front of you, you’d want to pop them.” Can all sides find mutually beneficial ways for allies, the US Merchant Marine, and US shipping interests to benefit, or will Jones Act arguments and government contracting restrictions continue to intensify as more large commercial partners find it increasingly difficult to support US military efforts?

Sources:, GCaptain
Source ShippingWatch GCaptain

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