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Two carriers on track to create world’s fifth largest container line. THE merger between Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Co to form the world’s fifth largest container line has moved a step closer. Hapag-Lloyd shareholders approved all items on the agenda at Friday’s annual general meeting, including new authorised share capital. This is to be used for the merger of the two companies, with UASC to be incorporated into Hapag-Lloyd as a contribution in kind, the company said. Shareholders also approved the expansion of the supervisory board from the current 12 members to 16, which is to take place once the merger is concluded. The current majority shareholders of UASC, Qatar Holding and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund will each have board representation.
The merger is still subject to antitrust approvals. Relevant applications were submitted soon the two carriers signed the business combination agreement. “The pending merger with UASC is another strategic milestone for Hapag-Lloyd. We intend to bring the skills of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC together in such a way that the company is in a stronger position to face both current and future industry challenges,” said Hapag-Lloyd chief executive Rolf Habben Jansen. “Hapag-Lloyd is not only growing, it is also becoming more international and, above all, more competitive,” he told some 300 shareholders attending the AGM.
“This merger gives us the large vessels we need in order to achieve low transport costs per container. With the investments already made by UASC in these ship classes, Hapag-Lloyd will not need to make any more investments in large vessels in the next few years.” He went on to say that the merger would consolidate Hapag-Lloyd’s position among the world’s five biggest container lines. “We expect the combination of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC to reap us further significant improvements in our profitability and we firmly believe that the merger will allow us to rise to the various industry challenges even better and more strongly than ever before,” he said.
Source: Lloyd’s List
Newly expanded Panama Canal locks to help reduce times from Asia to US east coast. MAERSK Line is to introduce the first containerised round-the-world service in recent times in September, when it will utilise the newly enlarged Panama Canal to deploy 11 8,500 teu vessels. Maersk will transform its TP12 service in to a standalone, round-the-world service that it says will provide “significantly faster” transit times between East Asia and the US east coast. The TP12 service will transit the new Panama Canal locks and call the ports of Newark, Norfolk and Baltimore on the US east coast. On the return leg to Asia, the TP12 will go through the Suez Canal and call the ports of Salalah (Oman), Colombo (Sri Lanka) and Singapore.
“We are changing our TP12 service to provide a better product to shippers in Korea, northern and eastern China. At the same time, we will reduce our CO2 and exhaust gas emissions due to the shorter distance,” said Maersk head of east-west network Klaus Rud Sejling. Maersk is also adding Busan in South Korea to the westbound TP10 service and will connect its TP11 and TP8 services to form a pendulum service that expands the coverage of both services. There will be no changes to the capacity in Maersk’s Asia-US east coast network. Maersk will deploy 11 vessels of 8,500 teu in the new TP12 service and 17 vessels of 8,500 teu in the new TP11/TP8 pendulum service. Taiwan’s Evergreen used to offer round-the-world services but discontinued them in the early years of the last decade.
Source: Lloyd’s List – 21 July 2016
Agreement marks conclusion of debt restructuring programme. HYUNDAI Merchant Marine has confirmed plans to join the 2M alliance of Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co in yet another twist to this unprecedented shake-up of the global container shipping industry. The three lines revealed they were in talks earlier in the month as HMM was completing debt restructuring negotiations. In a statement on Thursday, HMM said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with 2M for providing a joint service to begin from April 2017, after finalising negotiations and approval rocedures in each country.
The MOU signed between the three carriers is a binding agreement in regard to HMM’s entry to the 2M vessel-sharing agreement. By accessing the 2M network, HMM will be able to strengthen its service offering and achieve improved cost competitiveness, the line said. The 2M carriers will benefit from a reinforced service competency in Asia and improved network cover in the transpacific trades. HMM said the announcement marked the successful completion of all conditions set out in the voluntary agreement with creditors from March 2016, and in accordance with the completion of such preconditions, the planned debt-for-equity swap by creditors will be executed as planned.
“Upon completion of said debt-for-equity swap, the financial structure of HMM will be significantly improved and puts HMM in sound position to meet future challenges,” the statement said. A HMM spokesperson added that the line would work on “increasing operational competency in the second half of this year to continue improving profitability of our company”. MSC said in a statement that the addition of HMM to the 2M vessel sharing agreement “will allow us to offer improved services on our transpacific trade”. The expansion of 2M to three lines has fuelled speculation that Maersk could be interested in buying HMM, once it has had a chance to work with the carrier.