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Maersk developing South Korea-South Carolina air cargo route

Container vessel operator is rapidly building out cargo airline

A Star Air B767 freighter. Maersk is renaming is cargo airline Maersk Air Cargo. (Photo: Shutterstock/Soos Jozsef)

Maersk Air Cargo tipped its hand this week on which city pairs will be part of its inaugural trans-Pacific service as the air wing of the giant ocean shipping line enters the U.S. market for the first time.

The airline plans to fly a special “demonstrator” flight with live cargo on Aug. 31 from Incheon International Airport in Korea to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina, Adam Farmer, head of sales for Maersk in Northeast Asia and a managing director in Korea, said in a LinkedIn post. He urged shippers to book freight for the trial flight at discounted rates.

FreightWaves previously reported that Maersk Air Cargo purchased three factory-built 767-300 freighters from Boeing (NYSE: BA) and is outsourcing their operation to Miami-based Amerijet. The airline has also arranged to lease three more 767 converted freighters from a U.S. supplier for U.S.-China routes but has not yet revealed  details about those units.

Maersk Air Cargo earlier this year opened its first air depot at Incheon, with dedicated services to many parts of the world using its own aircraft and contracted airlift. The company is transforming itself into an integrated air logistics provider, functioning as an air carrier and freight forwarder that manages customers’ shipments utilizing multiple transportation providers. The strategy is to offer end-to-end logistics services for large customers.

Maersk (DXE: MAERB) has flown as Star Air for many years but rebranded itself to reflect its new mission. 

Maersk Air Cargo operates 15 Boeing medium-widebody 767 freighters, primarily as a contractor for express package delivery and mail organizations. The new aircraft, including orders for two Boeing 777 freighters,  will support Maersk’s new end-to-end-logistics service for large retail and manufacturing customers. As part of the new structure, Maersk is moving its main hub to Denmark’s Billund Airport this year.

Greenville-Spartanburg is a secondary airport that has been gaining all-cargo traffic in recent years as an alternative gateway to congested airports such as Atlanta. Senator International, a Germany-based freight forwarder acquired by Maersk this year, operates charter flights to GSP under long-term leases with other all-cargo carriers. 

The Southeast is home to many auto manufacturing plants. Korean manufacturer Kia has an assembly plant in West Point, Georgia, about 235 miles southwest of Greenville-Spartanburg. Hyundai, also based in Korea, assembles vehicles in Montgomery, Alabama.

Air Cargo News was first to spot Farmer’s LinkedIn message

Click here for more FreightWaves/American Shipper stories by Eric Kulisch.


Shipping line Maersk taps Amerijet for trans-Pacific air cargo expansion

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Eric Kulisch

Eric is the Supply Chain and Air Cargo Editor at FreightWaves. An award-winning business journalist with extensive experience covering the logistics sector, Eric spent nearly two years as the Washington, D.C., correspondent for Automotive News, where he focused on regulatory and policy issues surrounding autonomous vehicles, mobility, fuel economy and safety. He has won two regional Gold Medals and a Silver Medal from the American Society of Business Publication Editors for government and trade coverage, and news analysis. He was voted best for feature writing and commentary in the Trade/Newsletter category by the D.C. Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. He won Environmental Journalist of the Year from the Seahorse Freight Association in 2014 and was the group's 2013 Supply Chain Journalist of the Year. In December 2022, Eric was voted runner up for Air Cargo Journalist by the Seahorse Freight Association. As associate editor at American Shipper Magazine for more than a decade, he wrote about trade, freight transportation and supply chains. He has appeared on Marketplace, ABC News and National Public Radio to talk about logistics issues in the news. Eric is based in Vancouver, Washington. He can be reached for comments and tips at [email protected]