Maersk Line’s bid for German liner Hamburg Süd will checked for legitimacy on antitrust grounds by EU antitrust regulators on March 27, 2017, according to Reuters.
The decision on whether to clear Copenhagen-based Maersk Line’s first major deal in over a decade is one of several in a sector that is looking to offset low freight rates and oversupply.
It would also give the 2M network, which includes Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), additional vessels to combat new rivals Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance, which launches in April.
However Maersk which already has a fleet of more than 600 ships, may have to pull out of its existing alliance to gain EU approval, following in the footsteps of rivals that have offered such concessions to regulators in recent deals.
Maersk's previous alliance P3 – between Maersk, MSC and CMA CGM – was blocked by Chinese regulators on antitrust grounds,with regulators believing the alliance would monopolise the market.
The EU competition enforcer has the power to extend its review by two weeks if Maersk offers concessions to address regulatory concerns, or open a five-month investigation.
If the deal is approved, it will boost the carriers global trade, especially in the region of Latin America.
2M recently launched an aggressive capacity hike on the two biggest trade lanes in Asia and North Europe to coincide with launch of the new Ocean Alliance in April 2017, led by CMA-CGM and made up of China Cosco Shipping, Evergreen Line, and Orient Overseas Container Line.