A.P. Moller – Maersk has announced the closing of its acquisition of Hamburg-based freight forwarding company Senator International as the container shipping giant looks to expand its services beyond ocean freight.

Senator brings with it a strong organization and a well-developed airfreight network comprising own controlled flights and long-term partnerships with best-in-class airlines, a well-established full container load (FCL) and less than container load (LCL) network, and specialized services such as packaging, warehousing and distribution across five continents.

The acquisition, which was first announced in November, had a transaction value of $644 million.

“We are delighted to welcome the Senator team to our Maersk family. As a global provider of integrated logistics, we are improving our ability to provide end-to-end solutions to our customers,” said Vincent Clerc, CEO of Ocean & Logistics at Maersk. “With Senator on board, we are ramping up our air freight capacity, network, and know-how significantly to cater even better for our customers.”

Maersk says in the past two years more of its customers are requesting alternative means of cargo transportation beyond ocean shipping, a knock-on effect of idespread congestions and production issues stemming from Covid-19.

Maersk’s ambition is to have approximately one third of the annual air tonnage carried within its own controlled freight network, which will be achieved through a combination of owned and leased aircraft. The remaining capacity will be provided by strategic commercial carriers and charter flight operators.

In announcing its intent to acquire Senator International in November, Maersk said it was also expanding its own-controlled aircraft fleet with three leased cargo planes, to be operational from 2022, and purchase of two Boeing aircraft newbuilds to be deployed by 2024.

“By joining Maersk, our customers will have access to a broader portfolio of products for their business needs and provide them with a single point of contact. It’s a perfect match, and we are really excited about the next chapter in our united journey,” said Tim-Oliver Kirschbaum, CEO of Senator International.