Before 1965
Initially, it was mainly in shipping and related areas that A.P. Møller exercised his initiative. Dampskibsselskabet Svendborg (The Steamship Company Svendborg) was established in 1904 and later came Dampskibsselskabet af 1912 (The Steamship Company of 1912), both with focus on shipping. The shipping companies grew steadily and in 1939, their vessels represented a fifth of the Danish merchant fleet. Most vessels were modern motor vessels, which replaced the steamers at an early stage. In 1928, the liner service was started and the first tankers entered the fleet. Having suffered many losses during the Second World War, the Shipping Companies expanded with larger, new built vessels, and in 1965, when Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller assumed responsibility at the death of A.P. Møller, the Maersk fleet amounted to almost half of the Danish merchant fleet.

From general cargo to containers
Maersk Line was established in 1928 and for nearly 20 years, the route between USA and The Far East was the only liner service provided. After the Second World War, the liner activities were expanded first in Asia and later in Africa, Europe and North America.
The dimensions of the container were standardized in 1968 and following thorough preparations, Maersk Line containerized its original route from the US East Coast via the Panama Canal to The Far East in 1975. The risky initiative was a success and more container vessels were ordered, among these the first to be delivered from Odense Steel Shipyard in 1983.
The expansion was the kick off for establishing an independent organisation abroad, which replaced a number of agents and from 1975 to 2003 the number of countries included in the container related business activities grew from 11 to 125 countries. The activities in cargo consolidation and terminal operations in Maersk Line expanded simultaneously and today they operate independently.
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Oil transportation in ever larger vessels
Maersk Tankers took delivery of the first five tanker vessels in 1928 and transport of crude oil was the main service for many years. The first product tankers were delivered in 1965 and transport of gas was introduced in 1972. Concurrently, ever larger supertankers were ordered; the largest a series of Ultra Large Crude Carriers with a capacity of nearly 340.000 tonnes delivered from Odense Steel Shipyard in 1975-1977.
Maersk Tankers has been a leader in safety at sea, emphasized by the introduction of the world’s first double hulled supertanker in 1993.
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Supply Vessels
In 1962, A.P. Møller and the Shipping Companies were awarded the concession for exploration and extraction of raw materials in the Danish underground. Among other, the activities during the following years required the establishment of logistics between the shore base and the rigs, which undertook the practical exploration at sea, and Maersk Supply Service took delivery of its first vessel in 1967.
The fleet has grown over the years and today, the fleet of supply vessels that serves the offshore oil and gas industry includes more than 60 purpose-built vessels. Platform supply vessels carry out transports of all necessary equipment to platforms and mobile rigs at sea. Multi purpose support vessels with up to 23.500 BHP perform towage and installation of production units, drilling rigs and other vessels. Special equipment include fire fighting and pollution control.
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The company, established in 1833 under the name of
Em. Z. Svitzer is engaged in specialised marine activities such as harbour, coastal, terminal/LNG, offshore and ocean towage as well as salvage operations, crew-boat and emergency-response services.
SVITZER was acquired by the A.P. Moller – Maersk Group in 1979 and operates in 35 countries and the fleet totals around 550 vessels.
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Ferry services
Norfolkline was acquired in 1985 and operates ferry services from ports in England, Scotland, Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and Holland, where its headquarters are located. Norfolkline employs more than 2.200 people in 38 offices in 13 countries in Europe. The activities were sold in 2010.

Bulk and Car Carriers
From 1960 to 2003 A.P. Moller – Maersk operated a fleet of specialized bulk carriers. Most vessel were equipped with cranes for cargo handling and carried large, homogeneous cargoes like grain, coal, ore and wood chips.
In 1969, two bulk vessels were fitted for transport of cars. An example is export of Volkswagen cars from Germany to the USA, where the capacity of the bulk carriers was utilized for return cargoes of wood or grain. The first specially designed car carriers entered the Maersk fleet in 1980 and when the business unit was sold in 2008, the segment included 12 vessels.