Growth and Consolidation

After eight years in management positions with the leading Danish shipowner C.K. Hansen, A.P. Møller decided to go independent in 1912. At 36, with comprehensive international experience, A.P. Møller became the manager of the fleets of the Steamship Company Svendborg (est. 1904) and the newly founded Steamship Company of 1912. In January 1913, the five vessels were managed by a small staff housed in rented offices in Copenhagen’s old Stock Exchange. A new chapter had begun.


Adding to the ship-owning activities, but for his own account, A.P. Møller started trading in chartering of vessels for third party clients and in brokerage of vessels, both for the Maersk steamship companies and other players in the market. Although A.P. Møller’s personally owned company was not formally established until in 1914, trading in the new chartering and brokerage activities got off to a flying start in 1913. The international economy was doing well, and the shipping start-up was favoured by the fortune. The chartering activities included finding cargo for the Maersk vessels, but in addition they also did competitive chartering and supplied ship agency services for vessels calling Danish ports. But then came the war; uncertainty for the seafaring staff, the assets and indeed the company’s future.


Denmark was a neutral country during the First World War. A.P. Møller focused the shipping activities on Allied ports and later started trading in the Americas to safeguard people and vessels. More vessels were acquired in the early years of the conflict and from 1916, A.P. Møller took advantage of the exceptional high prices in the market by selling off vessels. This manoeuvre and a conservative evaluation of the remaining fleet made the Maersk steamship companies well consolidated and well prepared for the post-war period. Only two vessels were lost due to the war, with no loss of life.

These activities meant that A.P. Møller emerged stronger from the war period and in 1919 the ship owner was able to summarize his feelings on the situation: “We are now so placed as to be able to take a pretty broad view of things and, in my opinion, we have no right to take a narrow one.”

How to find us

Postal address

A.P. Møller Holding A/S
Esplanaden 50
1263 Copenhagen K

Visiting address

A.P. Møller Holding A/S
Esplanaden 19
1263 Copenhagen K



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