Maersk Line's recent announcement that it had spun off its intra-Americas services to form an independent carrier was hardly surprising from a business standpoint. But the Danish shipping giant's choice of "SeaLand" as the name of the new company, which begins service in early 2015, did come as a surprise.
The announcement undoubtedly sparked some reminiscences among the legions of Sea-Land Service alumni scattered throughout the shipping industry. Their alma mater, which for many years was a dominant force in container shipping, was acquired by Maersk in 1999. The merged company was called Maersk Sea-Land until the Sea-Land name was dropped in 2006. Why resurrect that historic moniker now? According to Maersk spokesman Timothy R. Simpson, Craig Mygatt, a longtime Maersk executive who will serve as CEO of the new carrier, decided to revive the brand after discovering on trips abroad that customers still associated him with Sea-Land rather than Maersk.
Maersk is not the first carrier to bring a respected old name back from the dead, as it were. US Lines, a smallish container line based in Long Beach, Calif., that serves the trans-Pacific market, calls to mind once-mighty United States Lines, a major global player that met its demise in 1986.