Published reports from the Financial Times, Bloomberg and American Shipper report that two high profile ocean container shipping lines, Germany based Hapag-Lloyd and Chile based CSAV, are in talks concerning a potential merger. These discussions had not led to any agreement and both lines were compelled to issue statements indicating existence of these talks. Bloomberg reported that the initial news came from the Die Welt newspaper and later acknowledged by company statements after CSAV shares spiked 27 percent. CSAV itself has lost 86 percent in the past three years according to Bloomberg.
According to rankings from Alphaliner, Hapag currently ranks globally as the sixth largest container ship fleet while CSAV ranks 20th. If both lines merge, the combined fleet would rank fourth globally. Just about two years ago Hapag had merger talks with Hamburg Sud, but those discussion talks broke down.
Hapag-Lloyd became a member of the G6 Alliance in 2012 in an effort to pool multi-carrier capacity on select global routes. On Tuesday, American Shipper issued a newsflash indicating that the G6 Alliance is now planning to expand its cooperation to Asia-United States West Coast and transatlantic trade lanes, pending regulatory approvals.
After many rants regarding proposed rate hikes involving global ocean lines, Supply Chain Matters declared in July that the implications for structural changes involving global transportation were compelling. This latest news of a potential merger of lines should therefore not be of great surprise. One of our upcoming 2014 predictions will call for even more re-structuring of global transportation networks. Manufacturers and retailers will need to continue to keep a keen eye out for the implications to their ongoing sourcing and supply chain strategies.