Facing dead whale or lost cargo, shipper MAERSK LINE turns to social media

By Curious
Who would have thought a container shipping company could rally as many Facebook "likes" as a big brewer, find lost cargoes via Instagram or use Pinterest to limit the public relations setback of accidentally killing a whale?

The company of Maersk Line is doing just that and the Danish shipping company says its embrace of social media - more usual in consumer-oriented sectors like cars or fashion - has given it an edge in the normally low-profile business-to-business shipping sector.

The largest container shipping company in the world - part of A.P. Moller-Maersk - sees the Internet as a cheap way to boost its profile, making it a more likely choice for freight forwarders.

"There is a lot to gain from it, such as better press coverage in the social networks, higher employee engagement and better brand awareness," stated Jonathan Wichmann, its head of social media.

Maersk Line's strategy proved its worth when the container carrier Maersk Norwich hit a whale and arrived in Rotterdam harbour in June last year with the 12-metre whale lying dead across its bulbous bow.

Rather than play down the accident, Maersk Line posted pictures on Facebook and created an album "In Memory of the Maersk Norwich Whale" on Pinterest. Both were widely shared and the company says comments were mostly positive.

All new vessels of Maersk have a Web page and Maersk is present on most social medias, including Twitter, Google+, Flickr, LinkedIn, Vimeo and Tumblr.

Crew of Maersk's social media covered the 2-year construction of its $185 million, "Triple E" container vessel - the world's biggest vessel - Mc-Kinney Moller Maersk, and its arrival in Europe last month.

The corporate Facebook page of Maersk Line has over 1 million "likes". While that is far less than the 11 million likes accumulated by Daimler's Mercedes brand, it is in the same league as consumer brands such as Danish brewer Carlsberg's 1,3 million and over Swedish carmaker Volvo's 675,000.

Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which is based in Switzerland and is the 2nd-biggest container company in the world, has just 4,500 facebook "likes". The 3rd place goes to France's CMA CGM, which has about 11,000 "likes".