Japanese Giants Set to Merge into Sixth Largest Carrier


The Ocean Network Express (ONE) is on track to become the sixth largest carrier in the world after Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) confirmed that they will be able to establish a holding company and an operating company by April 1, 2018.

ONE will integrate the three companies' container shipping businesses, including terminal operation businesses outside Japan.

This will give it a combined fleet with an expected order book larger than that of Hamburg-based Hapag Lloyd, which recently had its own merger with UASC.

But ONE's new fleet is unlikely to come in time for the merger start date, meaning that it will take Evergreen Line's sixth spot on the league table with a TEU of around 1.45 million and a 7% market share.

Competition Commission of South Africa (CCSA) delayed the merger on the grounds that it would increase collusive conduct in container liner shipping.

The joint venture also faced criticism from US maritime regulators in May 2017.

However, after recently gaining the support of EU authorities, the three companies expect that they will be able to comply with competition law before the service commencement date of April 1, 2018.

MOL stated on its website: “As of today, the new company to be established has received all necessary approvals for compliance with local competition laws in regions and countries where compliance is required for the new company's establishment, and progress is being made towards completing the establishment of the new integrated container shipping business. Further details will be announced upon completion of all establishment procedures.

“Overall, there is no impact on the three companies' integration plans for the new container shipping business, and the service commencement date for the new company is likewise unchanged from April 1, 2018.”

The formation is realizing predictions laid out in a report by Drewry, as the consultancy recently stated that the top five carriers will control a little under 60% of the world’s containership fleet by 2021.

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