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Update: UASC and Hapag-Lloyd shareholders still to vote on the deal that would create world’s fifth-biggest box line. HAPAG-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Co have agreed merger terms in a move that will form the world’s fifth largest container line. News that the deal was going ahead emerged just hours after CMA CGM had confirmed it controlled more than 90% of NOL shares and was close to finalising the $2.4bn takeover of the Singapore line.
In fleet capacity terms, European lines now hold four of the top five positions in the global league table. CMA CGM will close the gap between Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Co when it acquires NOL, giving it a combined fleet of 2.4m teu. That compares with Maersk Line’s fleet of almost 3.2m teu, according to Alphaliner, and MSC’s 2.8m teu. Hapag-Lloyd will overtake the former number one carrier Evergreen to move into fifth place with a fleet of 1.5m teu, just behind Cosco whose size was increased when the two Chinese lines merged earlier this year,
The two lines issued a brief statement on Tuesday saying that agreement had been reached on the terms and conditions of a Business Combination Agreement providing for the contribution of all shares in UASC to Hapag-Lloyd. “Today, the Supervisory Board of Hapag-Lloyd has approved the transaction subject to the anchor shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC agreeing to assume the commitments levied upon them in the BCA,” said Hapag-Lloyd.
However, the conclusion of binding agreements is still subject to the consent of Hapag-Lloyd and UASC shareholders. UASC will hold an extraordinary general meeting to grant such consent which will be held in Dubai on June 29. UASC is owned by a number of Arab states, with Qatar having a majority holding. Hapag-Lloyd shareholders are expected to vote on the deal before the end of August after the BCA has been signed. That is likely to be in the next two or three weeks. But the deal will still need regulatory approval before it can be finalised. In the meantime, thresholds will be set that will trigger compensation from either side should there be a material change of circumstances by one of the parties.
Hapag-Lloyd will remain the brand of the line that has gone from being 100% German-owned to one that willl soon have Arab as well as Chilean shareholders. CSAV currently owns just over 31% of Hapag-Lloyd while the City of Hamburg has a 20% stake, as does German billionaire Klaus-Michael Kuhne. Tui owns 12% and other shareholders who invested in last year’s IPO have around 15% of the equity. While CMA CGM’s takeover of NOL was, to some extent, expected after the Singapore line was put up for sale by Singapore sovereign fund Temasek, news that Hapag-Lloyd and UASC were in talks came as a shock.
The pair announced in April that UASC could become a Hapag-Lloyd shareholder. They said than that the parties were basing their discussions on a relative valuation of the two businesses at 72% for Hapag-Lloyd and 28% for UASC. Hapag-Lloyd has expanded considerably through mergers and acquisitions. In 2005, it bought CP Ships and then more recently combined with the container shipping arm of CSAV. Having under-performed in recent years, it produced stronger financial results last year, helped by the CSAV contribution, and also completed an initial public offering.
The deal with UASC gives Hapag-Lloyd access to 18,000 teu-class ships. UASC was one of the first lines to order this size of ship but as a relative newcomer, it lacks the customer base to fill them without partnerships with other lines. It had been a member of Ocean Three alongside CMA CGM and China Shipping, but that alliance is being disbanded. UASC also has a global agreement with Hamburg Süd, Germany’s second-biggest carrier behind Hapag-Lloyd.
The next unknown in a rapidly-changing scene is who will be members of The Alliance, which will replace the G6 alliance of which Hapag-Lloyd is a member. The new group is expected to consist of Hapag-Lloyd, the three Japanese lines, Yang Ming and Hanjin Shipping. Until a few days ago, HMM had also been expected to join. Now, though, HMM is in talks about joining the 2M alliance of Maersk and MSC.
Source: Lloyd’s List
What are the new rules?
On 1 July 2016, new requirements to verify the gross mass of a packed container enter into force under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
Why have the requirements for verification of the gross mass of the container been introduced?
Knowing the accurate gross mass of a packed container is critical to ensure correct stowage and stacking and avoid collapse of container stacks or loss overboard.
This is an important safety measure, which is aimed at saving lives and preventing injury and the destruction of property.
Is declaration of gross mass a new requirement?
There has always been a requirement in SOLAS to declare the gross mass of cargo and containers. The new requirement adds an extra level requiring verification of the mass.
This is to ensure that the mass declared is a true reflection of the gross mass of the packed container, in order to avoid injury, cargo damage, loss of containers, and so on.
How can the gross mass be verified?
The SOLAS regulation allows for two methods to verify the gross mass of packed containers:
Method 2 will not be practical for shippers of bulk commodities like iron ore, grain, etc.,
Who provides the verified gross mass?
The shipper is responsible for providing the verified gross mass by stating it in the shipping document and submitting it to the master or his representative and to the terminal representative sufficiently in advance for use in the preparation of the ship stowage plan.
Who is the shipper?
The shipper is defined as a legal entity or person named on the bill of lading or sea waybill or equivalent multimodal transport document (e.g. “through” bill of lading) as shipper and/or who (or in whose name or on whose behalf) a contract of carriage has been concluded with a shipping company. The shipper may be a manufacturer, ship agent, freight forwarder, etc.
What will happen if the verified gross mass is not provided?
The verified gross mass is a condition for loading a packed container onto a ship. A packed container, for which the verified gross mass has not been obtained sufficiently in advance to be used in the ship stowage plan, will be denied loading onto a ship to which the SOLAS regulations apply
Who decides on the “certified method” of weighing?
This is the responsibility of the competent authority of the State in which packing of the container was completed.
Who will enforce the regulations?
Like other SOLAS provisions, the enforcement of the SOLAS requirements regarding the verified gross mass of packed containers falls within the competence and is the responsibility of the SOLAS Contracting Governments. Contracting Governments acting as port States should verify compliance with these SOLAS requirements. Any incidence of non-compliance with the SOLAS requirements is enforceable according to national legislation.
Who pays if the gross mass of a container is not verified?
A packed container, for which the verified gross mass has not been obtained sufficiently in advance to be used in the ship stowage plan, will be denied loading onto a ship to which the SOLAS regulations apply. Any costs associated with the non-loading, storage, demurrage or eventual return of the container to the tendering shipper of the container should be subject to contractual arrangements between the commercial parties.
What if a container arrives for onward transportation without a verified gross mass?
While the shipper is responsible for obtaining and documenting the verified gross mass of a packed container, section 13 of the Guidelines regarding the verified gross mass of a container carrying cargo (MSC.1/Circ.1475) contains contingencies for containers received without a verified gross mass.
In order to allow the continued efficient onward movement of such containers, the master or his representative and the terminal representative may obtain the verified gross mass of the packed container on behalf of the shipper. This may be done by weighing the packed container in the terminal or elsewhere, but whether and how to do this should be agreed between the commercial parties, including the apportionment of the costs involved.
What will happen with regards to containers loaded prior to 1 July 2016 for transhipment?
The Maritime Safety Committee (MSC) at its 96th session in May 2016 agreed that while there should be no delay in the implementation of the SOLAS requirements, it would be beneficial if Administrations and port State control authorities could take a “practical and pragmatic approach” when enforcing them, for a period of three months immediately following 1 July 2016. This would help ensure that containers that are loaded before 1 July 2016, but transhipped on or after 1 July 2016, reach their final port of discharge without a verified gross mass and it would provide flexibility, for three months immediately after 1 July 2016, to all the stakeholders in containerized transport to refine, if necessary, procedures (e.g. updated software) for documenting, communicating and sharing electronic verified gross mass data.
The MSC agreed MSC.1/Circ.1548 Advice to Administrations, port State control authorities, companies, port terminals and masters regarding the SOLAS requirements for verified gross mass of packed containers.
Where can I find out more?
Contact your national maritime Administration for specific advice and guidance: contact points.
Please visit the IMO webpage: Verification of the gross mass of a packed container
Source: Lloyds List
Move will eliminate duplication of port pairs in order to keep transit times competitive. MAERSK Line and Mediterranean Shipping Co are looking to reduce the number of direct port calls in their 2M network between Asia and north Europe to maintain competitive transit times. This will be done via the removal of overlapping port pairs in the network which will raise schedule reliability from slower network speeds as well as create the benefit mentioned above. “We are utilising our scale to deliver a better product. With the largest network and the deployment of an increasingly uniform fleet of ultra large container vessels, we maintain our extensive direct coverage while focusing each service towards best in class transit times to specific markets on the trade,“ said Maersk Line Chief Commercial Officer Vincent Clerc.
Fellow shipping company in the 2M alliance Mediterranean Shipping Co, which jointly operates the services with Maersk Line, delved into some of the details such as the Albatros service now including a direct route from North China to Hamburg which will be achieved through the addition of one more 19,000 teu vessel for a total of 12. Links to Scandinavia and the Baltics will also be optimised. The Silk service will also see one more 19,000 teu ship added in for a total of 12. Meanwhile, the Lion service will see a one-ship reduction to a 16-vessel total (each 13,000 teu), the Swan service will see a one-vessel reduction to make 11 ships total (16,000-19,000 teu each), while the Shogun service will see no change to its vessel count of 11 (13,000-19,000 teu range).
Some port changes on routes include France’s Le Havre which will be served via the Lion service instead of the Albatros service, MSC told Lloyd’s List. Additionally, England’s Felixstowe will get direct services from Shanghai, Ningbo and Qingdao through changes in the Swan service. MSC’s Antwerp hub will also be added to four of the five loops namely Albatros, Shogun, Lion and Swan. “We’re committed to developing the best product in the market, both in terms of reliability, port coverage and transit time performance,” said MSC senior vice president Caroline Becquart. “The market has undergone considerable change recently, meaning that now more than ever, customers are seeking a stable and reliable partner. We are confident that MSC is best placed to provide this”. Maersk Line and MSC expect the network changes to be fully implemented in the third quarter of the year.