Final History of Sea-Land

April 1986 – Sea-Land did not long survive as an independent company.  It attracted the attention of  Harold Simmons, a Dallas investor, and in 1986 he attempted to take over the company.  But CSX Corporation, a leading rail transportation company in Richmond Virginia also made an offer.  Joe Abely, Sea-Land’s chairman, termed the proposal ”most welcome.”  CSX acquired Sea-Land for $28 a share in cash, a 75% return to Sea-Land shareholders in two years.

1996  – Sea-Land had planned to build a new headquarters in Madison, New Jersey at an upscale office park, Giralda Farms.  The CSX merger killed this idea.   When I moved to Charlotte it was a surprise to learn that many of the people I had known at Sea-Land in New Jersey now lived in North Carolina. Sea-Land had relocated its corporate headquarters to Charlotte but would only remain there a few years.

March 1999 – CSX separated Sea-Land into three entities: an international shipping company, a domestic shipping company, and a terminal operator.

December 1999 – Maersk Line’s parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk acquired the international shipping business and the Sea-Land name.

2000 – Maersk Line changed its commercial name globally to “Maersk Sea-Land” as a result of Sea-Land’s acquisition the previous year.

2003 – The Carlisle Group bought the domestic shipping line from CSX and changed the name to Horizon Lines.

2006 – the commercial name Sea-Land ceased to exist when Maersk Sea-Land changed its name to “Maersk Line” after the purchase of Royal P&O Nedlloyd.

January 2014 – Due to the strong brand recognition throughout the intra-Americas region, the Maersk Group revived the Sea-Land brand as a specialized intra-regional carrier, taking over the existing Maersk Line network for intra-Americas trade starting January 2015.

January 2015 – Sea-Land started operations as the stand-alone carrier of the Americas for Maersk Group.

However, the CCF imposes two other limitations – the ship must be built in a U.S. shipyard and manned by U.S. crews.  If foreign construction and crews are cheaper, then those savings represent a return on not using the CCF.  This example assumes that the ship can be built for only 80% as much in a foreign yard and that the foreign crew will save $1 million a year in labor costs.  When these savings are factored in, the upfront taxes (an investment) gives an annual return of 11.5% over the life of the ship.

The CCF served as a warning about special deals underwritten by   governments.  A business that requires government subsidies to get an acceptable return is going to be a difficult business, subject to pressures from competitors who may not operate with the same restrictions.