Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Combining Two Shipping Giants Would Make Fourth Largest Global Container Line

Talks Rumoured to be at an Advanced Stage
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – CHILE – WORLDWIDE – Rumours are rife within the shipping community regarding the ongoing merger talks between Hamburg headquartered Hapag-Lloyd and Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) based in Valparaiso which we mentioned in a story last month. The German company, serial negotiators when it comes to possible co-operations/amalgamations with other container lines, has been in discussion with CSAV for some months and it is believed talks are finally coming to a head.

According to financial journalists close to the two Hapag-Lloyd are asking for more than 70% of the new, combined operation whilst CSAV are unwilling to go further than this, but this speculation is similar to previous negotiations that the Germans have held with companies such as NOL and Hamburg Süd.

For its part CSAV was on the verge of bankruptcy three years ago but a change of ownership as the Luksic mining family took control led to a new strategy with the company concentrating on its traditional, core North South localised markets rather than expanding international container services globally. Now a partnership with Hapag-Lloyd would boost the combined operation to fourth place in terms of TEU capacity, displacing Evergreen Marine.

Although CSAV has its pedigree in Chile the purchase of Norasia in 2000 gave the group a presence in Hong Kong and Hamburg (CSAV Norasia) and access to the same East West trade lanes that caused its financial problems, but doubtless its involvement in this part of European/Asian business went some way to prompt the current negotiations.

With the ratification of the P3 combined services due shortly the box carriers outside of the top three, Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM, are under pressure to ensure they are not left with the scraps which the proposed consortium leaves in its wake, something Hapag-Lloyd has already gone some way to ameliorate.