Beijing’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) has given more details of the merger of Cosco and China Shipping, officially anointing Xu Lirong as the head of the new giant line, to be called China Cosco Shipping Group.
Xu is the chairman of China Shipping. His counterpart at Cosco, Ma Zehua, hits retirement age later this year and is expected to step down.
Xu is an ideal candidate to lead the integration of the two firms. His career started out with Cosco in 1975, before moving over to China Shipping some 30 years later. He has been chairman at China Shipping since 2011.
According to Barclay’s estimates, Cosco and China Shipping together hold assets worth $74.7bn.
The combined entity will become the world’s largest shipping line by quite some distance. With 783 vessels worth $22.95bn, the Chinese giant would be more than $10bn and 500 ships in front of second placed AP Moller Maersk, according to data compiled in August from VesselsValue.com. It would rank number one in the dry bulk and tanker trades in terms of fleet size and valuation while Alphaliner statistics show the merged pair would become the world’s fourth largest containerline.