Maersk Line has gained EU antitrust approval for its acquisition of Hamburg Süd after agreeing to pull the German company out from trade routes to address competition concerns.
Hamburg Süd will now have to withdraw from the five consortia of Eurosal 1/SAWC, Eurosal 2/SAWC, EPIC 2, CCWM/MEDANDES and MESA (see graph below) if the ninth largest container shipping company is to join with the largest in the world.
The European Commission stated that these links could have enabled the merged entity to influence competition through factors such as capacity for a very large proportion of markets and negatively impact commercial customers and consumers.
It was also found to create limited links between Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd in the markets for short-sea shipping and “tramp services” — unscheduled, on demand shipping.
According to the European Commission, Maersk Line operates 611 container vessels, 324 of which are chartered.
It markets its services through the Maersk Line, Safmarine, SeaLand (Intra-Americas), MCC Transport (Intra-Asia) and SeaGo Line (Intra-Europe) brands.
Maersk Group also provides container terminal services, freight forwarding services, inland transportation, container manufacturing, and harbour towage services.
Hamburg Südamerikanische Dampfschifffahrts-Gesellschaft KG (HSDG) operates 130 container vessels and markets its services through its global Hamburg Süd brand and its CCNI (Chile) and Aliança (Brazil) brands.
Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, in charge of competition policy, said: “Competitive shipping services are essential for European companies and for the EU's economy as a whole.
“The commitments offered by Maersk Line and HSDG will maintain a healthy level of competition to the benefit of the very many EU companies that depend on these container shipping services.”
Drewry recently slammed the alliances as having “failed miserably” after strong demand in Asia for European products and the “poorly managed” integration of new ocean carrier networks meant that shippers are struggling to secure space onboard ships.