Maersk Line, the world’s largest maritime container shipping company, is seeking to boost New Jersey’s already booming import/export industry with the introduction of direct trade finance to its clients.
Maersk, which keeps its North American headquarters in Florham Park, will offer direct financing of more than $1 million as well as over $5 million to import/export companies in New Jersey, as well as other states, through its newly-formed Maersk Trade Finance.
The new service aims to provide the state’s roughly 21,000 import/export companies with more effective ways to manage the ocean leg of end-to-end global supply chains, both financially and operationally.
The company is initially offering the new service to existing clients in six states, including New Jersey, and hopes to attract new ones thereafter.
“New Jersey is a strong state for both export and imports, so it was one of the early designated states we picked to launch the product,” William Duggan, head of Maersk Trade Finance, said.
Duggan said the company has hired trade finance experts from major financial institutions to run the new group. He added that the new service will enable growth among import/export companies in the state by giving them easier access to capital.
“Today, the flow of goods and the flow of money take divergent paths when you’re dealing with international trade,” he said. “We’re bringing this all together under one umbrella for our customers. We feel that this will allow for the growth of customers both on the import and export side, as this will give them immediate access to the financial side.
“Most of our clients have various facilities with their banks and draw on their credit lines. What we’re offering is very compatible with their banks.”
Maersk also will offer the service in New York, Texas, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.
The company directly employs nearly 400 workers in New Jersey, and indirectly employs hundreds more in the trucking, long shore and rail industries.
The import/export business is one of New Jersey’s largest industries, according to the most recent report from Business Roundtable, an association of CEOs that studies business trends.
International trade, including the import/export industry, supports 1.2 million jobs, which is more than one in five jobs in the state, according to BR. The state's trade-related employment grew 6.3 times faster than the state’s total employment from 2004 to 2013.
New Jersey exported $35.4 billion in goods and $21.5 billion in services in 2013. While the import/export industry is one of the state’s largest, almost all of the companies involved are small- to mid-sized businesses that the new financing service should be able to help. According to BR’s report, 92 percent of New Jersey’s import/export companies have less than 500 workers.
Additionally, the state ranks among the world’s Top 5 state exporters in 10 industries, including first in soaps & cleaning products and forestry products, and second in chemical preparations and printed matter.
New Jersey also ranks 39th among the world’s largest exporters of agricultural products, and in the Top 10 exporters of horses, berries and greenhouse products, according to the BR report. One of New Jersey's fastest growing export categories is grain and oilseed milling products, which have increased by 32 percent per year since 2003.