Home » Breaking News, Maritime » Reports rife of Hamburg Sud buyout by Maersk

the_new_container_ship_cap_san_antonio_with_destination_port_of_hamburg_in_april_2014Danish shipping giant Maersk Line is looking to further increase its presence in the Latin American trades by acquiring German rival Hamburg Sud, the world’s seventh biggest container operator in terms of capacity, according to unconfirmed reports.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that the Oetker family, which owns Hamburg Sud, is said to be discussing a sale of the shipping business, which may go on the block by the end of the year, and that the family will likely make a decision this week on whether to sell or not.

Increased consolidation has been happening in the shipping industry as carriers grapple with historic lows in freight rates, unprecedented capacity glut, and slumping global trade and rising protectionism that have seen the recent spectacular collapse of South Korea’s flag carrier Hanjin Shipping.

The dire situation they are in has led the biggest carriers in the world to form alliances or enter into mergers and acquisitions to ensure their survival. France’s CMA CGM, the world’s third biggest box shipping liner, acquired Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines in 2015, while Japan’s three largest shipping lines—Nippon Yusen Kaisha, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, and Mitsui O.S.K. Lines—announced last month plans to merge their shipping operations.

Only Hamburg Sud and Israel’s Zim Integrated Shipping Services have been left without a partner.

Data show that Hamburg Sud has a 3% share of global container capacity, or around 600,000 containers, and a fleet valued at around US$1.4 billion.

Along with Maersk Line, China Cosco Shipping is also said to be keen to buy Germany’s second largest container line after Hapag-Lloyd.

Hamburg Sud had twice held merger talks with Hapag-Lloyd, but the talks fell through after the companies disagreed on shares in an enlarged carrier. Hapag-Lloyd last week gained clearance from the European Commission to take over Middle East-based United Arab Shipping Company.

Photo: Hummelhummel

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