Biggest shipping company in the world pulls out of military-operated ports

Danish integrated shipping company, active in ocean and inland freight transportation and associated services, Maersk, has announced last week that it will stop using military-owned ports in Myanmar before the end of the month.

The statement was reported by Burma Campaign UK, an activist group encouraging international companies to stop any business with military-linked firms in Myanmar – including boycott campaigns.

In May this year Maersk was placed on the Burma Campaign’s ‘Dirty List’ of companies doing business with the military in Burma. The Myanmar military owns three commercial ports in Yangon: TMT Port, Hteedan International Port Terminal, and Ahlone International Port Terminal 1.

Maersk’s statement says “We are committed to serving trade for Myanmar, as we have done since the lifting of international sanctions in 2013. We call a variety of ports in the Yangon area and are in the process of consolidating all our Myanmar bound port calls at the Myanmar International Terminal Thilawa (MITT) and Myanmar Industrial Port (MIP) terminals.”

Mark Farmaner, Burma Campaign UK’s director commented “the biggest shipping company in the world deciding not to use military-owned ports is a highly significant move, and will increase pressure on other shipping companies to do the same”.

Maersk has been the largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996. The company is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, with subsidiaries and offices across 130 countries and around 80,220 employees as of 2018.

Burma Campaign UK has driven companies such as Western Union, Portia Management Services or Kirin Holdings of Japan to reconsider their investments and partners in the country.

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