Cosco and China Shipping to merge? “You guess,” says Cosco’s Ma

Shenzhen: Following Friday’s historic announcement that Cosco and China Shipping will colloborate on some domestic container trade routes for the first time, the president of Cosco Group, Ma Zehua, would not be drawn on merger speculation between China’s two largest maritime conglomerates.

China Shipping Container Lines (CSCL) and COSCO Container Lines will jointly operate trade routes from north and northeast China to Fujian and Shantou in the southern province of Guangdong from mid-October.

"This move is just the start of an intensive cooperation in domestic container shipping between CSCL and COSCO," CSCL said in a statement released on Friday.

Sources in Beijing tell SinoShip News that both shipping giants have come under pressure from government to work together before any further capital is handed to them. 

Ma, whose career included five years at China Shipping, would not elaborate on the rumours. Speaking at TPM Asia in Shenzhen, Ma said: “The leadership in recent years for these two companies has had much interaction. There is much speculation on what we will do together. I cannot tell you whether we will merge; I will have to let you guess.”

Ma did say, however, that the two companies would strengthen cooperation in the coming years, and not just in container shipping.  [17/10/12]

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