Japan’s big three insist box merger is still on track despite missing key deadline

While they continue to speak as one, Japan’s largest shipping companies have failed to meet a July 1 date set for the creation of a new holding company for their merged box shipping divisions.

Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK) have hatched plans to create ONE, a container merger that would have 1.4m slots when it officially starts operating on April 1 next year. However, the tricky nature of such a merger is becoming clearer by the day.

Last month South Africa’s competition watchdog voted against the planned merger.

Today, all three lines said in a release that plans to establish a holding company and an operating company by July 1 had not been met. However, the triumvirate insisted that the merger was still on track.

“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,” the companies stated, adding that they were confident they could still get approval for the merger in South Africa soon.

“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 three companies stated.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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