Campaign launches against shipping giant Maersk over genocidal weapons trade

Maersk, among the largest shipping companies in the world, is vital to the flow of arms from the United States to Israel

June 03, 2024 by Natalia Marques
Photo: Zoe Alexandra

On June 3, the Palestinian Youth Movement announced a new global campaign targeting Maersk, one of the largest shipping companies in the world, a vital piece in the flow of weapons from the United States to Israel.

PYM, a transnational Palestinian diaspora formation, has led mass mobilizations in several countries, especially in North America, challenging the US and Canada’s unconditional support for Israeli genocide in Gaza. The organization now seeks to take on the logistics industry shipping arms that transports the weapons that are used to carry out the genocide. 

“Maersk ships transport weapons and weapons components, meaning Maersk actively facilitates the flow of weapons to Israel to use in its criminal war in Gaza,” said PYM’s Nadya Tannous. “Without Maersk, those weapons would not reach Israel. Maersk guarantees the consistent supply necessary for the destruction of Gaza.” 

Between 2018 and 2022, 68% of Israel’s weapons imports came from the US. Maersk plays an indispensable role in shipping these weapons to Gaza, as the company has transported over USD 300 million in weapons components to US arms manufacturers since October. These include Northrup Gruman, Woodward, RTX/Raytheon, and Lockheed Martin. 

“Arms manufacturers outsource the production of weapons components, like the wings for fighter jets, ammunition, and engines. These components are then placed on a shipping container and brought to weapons manufacturing facilities in the U.S. where they are assembled then shipped to Israel to conduct the genocide of Palestinians. Logistics companies play an invisible but insidious and central role in making and profiting off the weapons that Israel uses to kill Palestinians. The mask is off. The people must demonstrate what the true cost is of supporting genocide,” said Tannous.

The campaign aims to bring together diverse sectors of the Palestinian diaspora and solidarity movement, including labor unions, students, and community organizations to demand that Maersk cut ties with Israel. PYM is calling on organizations to endorse the campaign and sign the petition to end the transportation of weapons to Israel, cut all contracts that fuel the genocide, and implement an arms embargo against Israel. 

Peoples Dispatch spoke to a representative from the Palestinian Youth Movement about the several fronts in the campaign. “We’re planning on engaging with labor unions and different labor and sector-based formations to organize around Maersk as a target,” the representative told Peoples Dispatch. “We’re also planning a mobilization front, which is going to start with more mass mobilizations around Maersk targets to make Maersk a household name. These logistics companies get away with no one knowing who they are, and being invisible players in the imperial war machine.”

The campaign will also engage in a divestment strategy involving putting pressure on city councils, pension funds, and university campuses who might have partnerships or investments in Maersk.