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BYLINE: BY PETER T. LEACH
As the shock waves from A.P. Moller-Maersk's management shakeup begin to subside, Maerskologists are poring over the seismic reports. Do the changes signal a disagreement over future strategy for Maersk Line, which is still the world's biggest liner company? Does it mean the new management will look at selling some of the company's assets? Does it mean that oil and gas, the company's cash cow and source of funds for the shipping line's acquisitions, will become the dominant side of the company?
There are no ready answers to these questions. But the one thing that nearly everyone agrees on is that the 2005 merger of Maersk Sealand and P&O Nedlloyd, which was designed to increase the company's market share and hence profitability, produced the opposite result and probably led to the downfall of the management team that championed the $2.7 billion acquisition. Maersk Line has had to de-emphasize its goal of pursuing market share for market share's sake, and instead concentrate on increasing the profitability of individual trade lanes.
"It's true that we are focused more on yield management, but we will still grow," said Eivind Kolding, the current joint chief executive of Maersk Line, who is emerging from the reorganization as the carrier's sole head. "We will still grow volumes, …