On Supply Chain Management - More about Coolie

On Supply Chain Management - More about Coolie

"Having Small Wealth is a Bliss. Having Big Wealth is a Social Responsibility."

- Jack Ma, Founder of Alibaba

In the annals of history, there exists a term that resonates with tales of toil, hardship, and endurance - the Coolie.

The Coolie emerged in the 19th century amidst the backdrop of global industrialization, colonial expansion, and the insatiable demand for cheap labor. Originating primarily from regions of South Asia, particularly India, and China, Coolies were often impoverished individuals who sought better economic opportunities in distant lands.

Learn more at: The Life of a Coolie. A Must-Read for Supply Chain Professional.

COPENHAGEN, Dec 12, 2022 - A.P. Moller-Maersk said on Monday it had appointed company veteran Vincent Clerc as its new CEO to lead the shipping giant through a period of slowing container demand.

Clerc, currently head of the group's Ocean & Logistics business, said he will focus on keeping costs down at a time when Maersk has been buying up warehouses and distribution centers to offer an end-to-end transportation service rather than just container shipping.

Clerc is serious.

A few months ago, on Aug 31, 2022 - Maersk announced the completion of its acquisition of LF Logistics, a Hong Kong-based contract logistics company. As a consequence, LF Logistics will be rebranded to Maersk.

Following the acquisition, Maersk will add 223 warehouses to the existing portfolio, bringing the total number of facilities to 549 globally, spread across a total of 9.5m square meters. It's all about cost and the promises of the end-to-end transportation service to the dear customers.

Maersk was founded by A.P. Møller in 1904 as a shipping company. Over the years, it expanded into other industries, including oil and gas, logistics, and container terminals. It provides a range of logistics and supply chain services, including freight forwarding, customs brokerage, warehousing, and distribution. Maersk doesn't only operate a fleet of container ships that transport goods and cargo across the globe, but also owns and operates container terminals all over the world, facilitating the loading, unloading, and storage of cargo shipped by Maersk Line and other carriers.

From the business perspective, there's an interesting question, "How many Coolies are supporting the Maersk operation at the global scale?" From the social responsibility perspective, there's an even more interesting question on the flip side, "What is the total number of Coolies' lives does Maersk support?" It's suffice to say no one knows the accurate answer except Clerc. If you look up the total number of employees at Maersk on Google, it was 110,000 in 2022. But we have to know Coolie is a different species. They're not Maersk's employees. Throughout history, Coolies work for Coolie Kwuns, which is an outsourcing unit separated from the shipping company. In modern-day terminology, they're agents. The agents are businesses themselves and work closely with the shipping company. The agents will help recruit Coolies who are self-employed. And the Coolies will end up working in the shipping company's operation. In other words, the Google result has nothing to do with the total number of Coolie.

Is the Coolie's number a double? 220,000? Or even triple? 330,000?

The Coolies show up every single day on the supply chain operation and work as hard as the Maersk's employees, they're a minority in the society though, no matter how large of that total number is.

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