Thursday, September 19, 2013

Intermodal Shipping Group Acquires Container Short Sea Feeder Rival

Comprehensive Service Coverage Ranges from North Africa to Russia
Shipping News Feature

DENMARK – JERSEY – MEDITERRANEAN – Back in April when we announced the purchase of intermodal group Unifeeder by Jersey based investment outfit Nordic Capital, we predicted that the container short sea shipping sector was the market to watch. Now in a move clearly encouraged by that take over, the Danish company has announced the acquisition of United Feeder Services Ltd (UFS), a similar group with 44 agencies ranging from North Africa, across the Mediterranean up to Northern Europe and the Black Sea ports.

UFS was formed in 1999 with the amalgamation of three rival Mediterranean based feeder services and a statement issued today said that ‘the two companies will, in combination, offer the most comprehensive feeder network in Europe with an unparalleled coverage of ports in both Northern Europe and in the Mediterranean’. Unifeeder and UFS will continue to trade as separate companies and with separate organisations but will focus on combining on extending and improving services and operations. Jesper Kristensen, CEO of Unifeeder A/S, commented:

“Both of our companies have a strong history of providing our customers with attractive transportation solutions. Together, we will be able to further improve our services in an environment of increasing demands from our clients. We will also continue to build economies of scale in our operations, which is the key to our long term competitiveness. The transaction fits very well with Unifeeder’s strategic ambition to deliver the best feeder and shortsea product on the market. Combining our efforts enables us to strengthen our companies in Northern Europe as well as in the Mediterranean.”

The transaction is expected to be finalised by the end of October, subject to approval by the relevant authorities. A joint statement said the move would benefit all stakeholders, from customers to employees, suppliers and the environment through superior port coverage, optimised operations and further strengthening of the service levels of the two companies. Cecilia Batistello-Eckelmann, Chairman of UFS, commented:

“UFS has developed a large presence in the Mediterranean feeder market. Building a comprehensive network of services from Iberia to the Black Sea, we have served clients with many different requirements and built a reputation as a reliable feeder operator. UFS brings significant experience and knowledge into the future relationship with Unifeeder that will benefit both companies. Together we will improve our ability to meet the needs of our clients.”