It is no great surprise that hits-wise one story dominated our site this week. My colleague, Grant Rowles, was first to the punch with the official news that Maersk Line had indeed bought out Hamburg Süd, giving the Danish containerline an 18.6% global market share in the liner trades. More than 11,500 of you read that story on our site yesterday and we are gratified that in the ensuing 24 hours a bunch of liner execs have signed up to our daily newsletter.
So then, let’s take a step back and look at what’s likely next in container shipping’s greatest phase of consolidation. With Hanjin Shipping going to the wall, NYK, MOL and K Line joining forces in Japan, Cosco and China Shipping betrothed by Beijing, CMA CGM in for NOL and Hapag-Lloyd joining forces with UASC before yesterday’s Maersk news, we are now at a stage where there are just 11 global carriers, down from 20 at the start of the decade.
Israel’s ZIM, meanwhile, has tapped Citi to hive off its global network in a bid to carry on just as an intra-Mediterranean operator.
This leaves the spotlight on two containerlines: Yang Ming from Taiwan and Hong Kong’s OOCL. Both operate a fleet of around 575,000 teu each – less than half of what our regular contributor, Lars Jensen from SeaIntel Consulting, reckons is necessary to prosper in today’s altered container environment. Both have gone on the record to deny they are looking at sale opportunities. We remain convinced however that for the right price senior management at both lines would sell up … or could they merge? Splash will continue to report all the latest movements in this rapidly changing sector.
Mentioning change, one final thing I recommend you read before heading off for the weekend is today’s contribution from Kate Adamson, the founder of Futurenautics. I caught up with the maritime futurist for breakfast in Singapore earlier this week – her thoughts on how the industry must transform in the coming years made for an illuminating chat over some eggs benedict.