Peggy Hollinger (Inside Business, December 30) quotes a Maersk IT government suggesting that Maersk, accounting for nearly 17 per cent of the world’s container shipments, “[is] now a expertise firm the place we’ve some bodily units we have to transfer round”. Rightly, the “sea captains” disagree. In spite of everything, 78 per cent of group income is earned by the maritime unit.
Undoubtedly, Maersk spends appreciable sums to develop and keep laptop data techniques to ship logistics companies and merchandise to shippers, captains, and community planners to assist every optimise their respective duties. If these data companies and merchandise are primarily used inside Maersk to optimise the corporate’s transportation community, they represent inputs into its downstream closing output which is presently primarily transportation “companies”. Provided that the income from direct gross sales of Maersk expertise companies and merchandise to non-Maersk clients have been to vastly exceed maritime unit earnings would Maersk be a expertise firm.
However that objective won’t even be price pursuing. In spite of everything, expertise is “information about easy methods to produce”, and any new information developed by Maersk would possibly effectively be price extra to the corporate as inputs into its personal downstream delivery actions than from direct gross sales to others.
This may make Maersk a producer of knowledge-intensive transportation companies and merchandise, however nonetheless not a expertise firm.
Affiliate Professor of Worldwide Economics, The Fletcher Faculty of Legislation and Diplomacy, Tufts College
Medford, MA, US