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Editorial: Importance of Maersk Line acquiring Hamburg Süd for the Shipping Trade

Port Wings:

06 December 2017:

On 1 December 2016, Maersk Line announced its intention to acquire Hamburg Süd, the German container shipping line, and on 14 March 2017, Maersk Line announced the signing of a sale and purchase agreement with the Oetker Group, owner of Hamburg Süd.

In April 2017, the sale and purchase agreement for Maersk Line’s acquisition of Hamburg Süd was approved by the boards of Maersk Line and the Oetker Group. And in November 2017, the acquisition got all the necessary regulatory approvals.

According to Maersk, the acquisition is in line with the Maersk Line’s growth strategy.  It represents a unique opportunity to combine two complementary businesses and realise sizable operational synergies as well as commercial opportunities. Combined, the two companies will be able to realise operational synergies in the region of USD 350-400 million annually over the first couple of years following completion of the transaction.

Hamburg Süd will maintain its own structure hereunder its separate brands and is expected to deliver a high customer retention adding to Maersk Line’s growth agenda.

The combined network will include increased number of weekly sailings, faster transit times, more port calls, more direct port-to-port calls and less need for transhipment, to the benefits of both Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd customers.

The cost synergies will primarily be derived from integrating and optimizing the networks as well as standardized procurement. In addition, APM Terminals’ global portfolio will benefit from increased volumes, specifically the many investments made in the Latin America Region.

To continue and strengthen the future growth of Hamburg Süd, Maersk Line emphasizes its plans to preserve the customer value proposition of Hamburg Süd. It also commits to maintain the presence of Hamburg Süd in Hamburg, Germany, and has agreed to lease the local head office, initially for a period of five years.

“Hamburg Süd has a strong brand and an attractive customer value proposition. We believe these elements are key for our acquisition to become a success. Therefore, Hamburg Süd will remain under own management and with full brand responsibility,” says Søren Skou.

“We see the acquisition of Hamburg Süd by Maersk Line as a natural development and we are convinced that Hamburg Süd will thrive under continued own management and maintain not only the services offered to its customers, but also provide its employees a fantastic opportunity to continue shaping the future of the industry as a leading service provider,” says Dr. Ottmar Gast, Chairman of the Hamburg Süd Executive Board.

With the acquisition, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd will have a total container capacity of around 3.9 million TEU (3.3 million TEU) and an 18.7% (16.0%) global capacity share (Alphaliner per 24 April 2017). The combined fleet will consist of 743 container vessels.

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