At the first annual meeting of the newly born Italian shipowner association, Assarmatori, the executive chairman of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Gianluigi Aponte, was asked who might be next in the great wave of container shipping consolidation. The shipping veteran said eventually he expected Japan’s Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Hamburg-based Hapag-Lloyd would one day join forces. The two currently lie in sixth and fifth spot in the global container rankings and are themselves the products of massive mergers – ONE, combining the box fleets of K Line, NYK and MOL, while Hapag-Lloyd has absorbed CSAV and UASC into its operations in recent years.
Aponte – an elder statesman in the world of container shipping – also commented on the ever increasing vertical integration of global carriers into land transport and logistics.
Aponte said that for MSC, the world’s second largest carrier, developing new inroads into inland logistics was a strategic move for the company.
“We don’t want to cover everywhere… We will make it just where it makes sense, it’s needed and valuable for our group, but we cannot make it worldwide,” Aponte said.