Thursday, December 29, 2011

Rhine Logistics Merger Will Form Largest Freight Container Terminal Group

EU Approval for Wincanton and Rhenus Tie Up
Shipping News Feature

BELGIUM – GERMANY – EUROPE – The acquisition of the logistics business of Wincanton International by the German company Rhenus AG, a subsidiary of the Rethmann group, received approval from the European Commission under EU Merger Regulations last week. Despite the deal ensuring Rhenus becomes the leading operator of container terminals on this particular region of the Rhine, and complaints that the amalgamation would lead to unfair competition in the local freight market, the Commission decided otherwise.

A thorough examination of the potential effects of the transaction on the markets of contract logistics, freight forwarding, freight transport and terminal services with particular emphasis on containers carried by inland waterways between the ARA (Amsterdam, Rotterdam & Antwerp) ports and the Rhine region revealed there would remain sufficient competition in all areas even with regard to the container terminal activities involved in ports between Mainz and Karlsruhe, including Frankfurt and Aschaffenburg which had been described as particularly vulnerable.

Moreover, the specific regulatory regime for terminal services in Germany prescribing among others non-discriminatory access to the terminal concession holders and the control structure put in place by some of the terminals would prevent Rhenus from shutting out competing barge operators or freight forwarders from access to terminal services. Coupled with this the new merged group would also have to face the threat of competition from expanding rail freight services in the region.

The Commission noted that the proposed transaction leads to horizontal overlaps between the activities of Rhenus' subsidiary Contargo and Wincanton International in several markets and countries, namely France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands and concluded that the transaction would not significantly reduce competition in the European Economic Area (EEA) 1 or part of it.

Rhenus is active in contract logistics, freight forwarding, transport logistics, port logistics and public transportation services. Rhenus is solely controlled by Rethmann AG & Co. KG, which also controls the company Remondis AG & Co KG, a provider of services in the field of water and recycling management, and the company SARIA Bio-Industries AG & Co. KG, which is active in the recycling of animal, vegetable and agriculture waste products and in the production of bioenergy.

Wincanton International controls the undertakings Wincanton SAS (France), Wincanton Holding GmbH (Germany), Wincanton Transeuropean España S.L. (Spain) and Wincanton Transeuropean Holding B.V. (The Netherlands) which are active as providers of logistics services.

Photo: A shot of the Contargo Terminal Ottmarsheim