By Kyunghee Park
Combining the container-shipping businesses of Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha will create the world’s sixth-largest operator with 6.6 percent of the market, according to figures from shipping data provider Alphaliner.
The three Japanese shipping lines agreed to merge their container businesses into one company which will be set up by July 1 next year, they said in a joint statement Monday. This follows an announcement in May that they would be part of a vessel-sharing partnership called The Alliance alongside Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG and Taiwan’s Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.
The global container industry has been in turmoil since the 2008 financial crisis caused trade to slump and capacity to pile up. Amid prolonged losses, South Korea’s biggest container line Hanjin Shipping Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in August, while rivals have tried to tide over the crisis through cost cuts and mergers. CMA CGM SA took over Singapore’s Neptune Orient Lines Ltd. this year and China combined its two biggest container lines. Hapag-Lloyd is in the process of merging with United Arab Shipping Co., or UASC.