A decade in the making, Maersk’s ongoing relationship with ICA proves the powerful role that partnership plays in streamlining supply chains and decarbonising logistics.

Male and a female picking bananas in a store

The background

With more than 1,300 stores, ICA is one of Sweden’s leading retailers. A household name with a storied history, the company can trace its origins back to 1917 when Hakon Swenson first started the organisation that would go on to become today’s ICA.

Swenson’s vision was to enable individual retailers to scale their operations through the power of partnership. The idea was simple. By cooperating with other stores in areas like supply and logistics, local owner-operators could achieve the same kind of economies of scale as much larger chains.

More than a century later that spirit of cooperation continues to guide ICA. It’s also the driving force behind their evolving relationship with Maersk, a powerful partnership that’s bringing benefits across the supply chain.

Loading shipments using a forklift into Maersk truck

The challenge

Despite a decade-long relationship, it’s in the past four years that ICA’s partnership with Maersk has evolved to become the end-to-end solution that it is today. The catalyst for this change came during the COVID-19 pandemic when shortages and wide-spanning logistical issues impacted supply chains across the world.

At the time, ICA experienced issues with other contractors who hadn’t fulfilled their commitments, driving costs upwards and putting strain on supply chains. Maersk however stepped up to support ICA and did everything in its power to alleviate the situation.

As a result, the relationship flourished. Stability, reliability and trust formed the foundations of a partnership that helped ICA to navigate COVID-19. So, when the time came for the company to look towards new horizons, they turned to Maersk for help.

ICA didn't just want to grow its market share, it wanted to improve efficiencies across the entirety of its supply chain. At the same time, the company has ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact, pledging to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by 2030. That’s where Maersk comes in. Maersk has set its sights on achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across operations by 2040, taking a leading role in not only reducing our own climate impact, but that of our partners too.

Aerial shot of a truck going through a field of trees

Challenges during and post the pandemic has been a driver to further strengthen collaboration across supply chain. Our partnership with Maersk enables us to cut costs and reduce our climate impact, all while embedding the kind of agility that will help us to navigate whatever the world throws at us in the future

Emma Lindström headshot
Emma Lindström
Director Logistics ICA Sverige AB
Close up of hands working on a tablet

The solution

Today Maersk is embedded in every area of ICA’s operations. As trusted partner we work across the supply chain, offering input and expertise on everything from supplier relationships in Asia to warehousing in Sweden.

Having solutions like Supply Chain Management (SCM) and Booking Services mean that Maersk can help with connecting the dots across ICA’s supply chain, enabling it to improve efficiencies, cut costs and ultimately reduce its greenhouse gas impact.

Data is a key driver. Maersk and ICA share electronic data between their systems, which means that real-time information can be shared across the supply chain. Armed with this insight, ICA and Maersk work together to ensure that everything runs smoothly and that efficiencies are created whenever possible.

A good example of this is Maersk’s Less-than-Container Load (LCL): a solution that allows the customer to only pay for the container capacity that it needs. ICA employs this tool for around 400 cubic meters annually, enabling them to speed up shipments, reduce unnecessary costs and introduce valuable agility into its supply chain.

Closer to home this powerful partnership is just as valuable. As well as shipping and customs services, Maersk is responsible for warehousing ICA’s stock when products reach its final destination in Gothenburg. By combining data-driven management with warehousing, we’ve created an end-to-end solution that gives the company unparalleled insight at every stage of the supply chain.

Male working in a warehouse

The benefits for ICA are clear. Greater control, insight and agility are vital to their ongoing success. But more impressive still are the environmentally conscious measures that this approach has delivered.

Utilising Maersk’s ECO Delivery offering, ICA has been able to begin to decarbonise its ocean logistics by replacing fossil fuels with biofuels like green  biodiesel and methanol. 80 percent of ICA’s inventory is currently shipped using ECO Delivery, with plans to expand this during 2024.

The environmental considerations don't stop when the products reach dry land. Thanks to Maersk, ICA has been able to employ electric vehicles from the cargo’s point of arrival at port to its warehouse outside Gothenburg. Transporting 1,300 containers every year, there are plans to expand this inland cargo network, also by employing rail routes to further reduce its environmental impact. 

Maersk vessel docking

The result

As ICA’s partner, we are committed to supporting the company across every part of its supply chain. Thanks to our holistic, end-to-end approach we’ve been able to effect change across every aspect of their operation, creating efficiencies that cut costs while reducing ICA’s greenhouse gas emissions from transportation.

For a relationship that’s been driven by data, it’s only fitting that the impact of this work is being tangibly measured by ICA. 

In 2024 the company is set up to save more than 3,500 tonnes of CO2e* thanks to the decarbonisation solutions with Maersk. It’s an incredible achievement, one that proves the powerful role that partnership can play in changing our planet.

Our ambition is to serve with purpose and make positive contribution to the communities that we serve. Through our relationship with Maersk, we’re actively reducing our climate impact, helping our customers to make sustainable choices and building a better future.

Emma Lindström headshot
Emma Lindström
Director Logistics ICA Sverige AB

Eco Delivery

Responsible shipping choices can help you move closer to achieving your net zero ambitions. Maersk ECO Delivery is an innovative product that replaces fossil fuels with biofuel alternatives, giving you immediate CO2e savings.

*Carbon emissions savings calculations are based on Round Table for Sustain­able green fuels (RSB) methodology and are independently audited accord­ing to ISAE 3410 – Assurance Engagements on Greenhouse Gas Statements. The CO2 emissions for transporting containers are calculated based on the Clean Cargo methodology.

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