Sustainability and digital innovation are two buzzwords that are increasingly on managers’ lips across several market segments – including Logistics and, more specifically, the Special Cargo world with large players like Maersk Line acting as pioneers in this regard.

The $27.5B global Special Cargo (SC) market is truly a multi-industry business, spanning across several segments, from oil & gas to railways, to luxury yachts. Critical equipment and systems are “made everywhere” and sometimes require long distance logistics to reach their final destination.

Special Cargo has the power and responsibility to connect the premium manufacturing base to the end market: the equipment moved by SC is usually highly engineered and requires know-how and distinctive capabilities that are available in the most developed countries. Emerging markets are their natural destination, while a large portion of trade of out-of-gauge equipment – driven by niche specialization and global competitiveness – is exchanged also among OCSE countries.

Also driven by its natural multi-industry diversification, the Special Cargo business is currently experiencing slow but fairly stable growth and the outlook for the next 5-year period is positive. There are multiple drivers behind this, among others: an overall global increase in industrialization leading to more oversize products on the market, stabilizing oil prices which are driving further investments in new Oil&Gas plants, an increasing number of high net worth individuals in developing countries.

Special Cargo by sea is experiencing stronger growth with respect to land and air transportation, also driven by its  lower carbon footprint and the aforementioned growing environmental awareness. In fact, businesses are placing more of an emphasis on the environmental impact of shipping and are aware of the fact that an air freight service emits a higher amount of polluting gases per ton transported.

While it is true that transport of Special Cargo is nothing new and it has been done for years, now the demand for such services is growing and 5 new trends are emerging:

  1. Local Content

  2. Growing North American market

  3. Focus on Sustainability

  4. Make over Buy

  5. Digital Innovation

The same company that has allowed the entire industry to ‘box’ goods into rectangular containers is now focusing more and more on the Special Cargo segment that requires “out-of-the-box” thinking and capabilities. Maersk Line knows that being recognized as a leading player in the Special Cargo market will not only stem from past knowledge and experience, but also from a proven ability to modernize and move forward. In fact, as part of the differentiating factors, Digital Innovation and innovative solutions for Sustainability are elements that only a large, established group can deliver.

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