Maritime News Update Week 26/2018

COSCO Gets Nod for OOCL Takeover in the Nick of Time

COSCO Shipping Holdings has received the ‘all clear’ from the Chinese anti-trust body for its proposed USD 6.3 billion takeover of Orient Overseas Container Lines (OOCL).

The approval came in the nick of time to enable COSCO to meet its previously set date for the completion of the acquisition, which was scheduled for the end of July.

The merger deal was said to be in hot water after the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) raised concerns over COSCO taking control of the Long Beach terminal in April.

The latest merger is part of the recent wave of consolidation in the container shipping industry which has seen numerous liner majors join forces. The most recent activities included the combination of Japanese trio NYK Line, MOL and K Line’s container businesses under the magenta-colored ONE brand.

Liner giants such as Maersk Line and Hapag-Lloyd were no strangers to consolidation either as the Danish major took over German counterpart Hamburg Süd while Hapag-Lloyd merged with UASC.

Hapag-Lloyd Downgrades Profit Forecast for 2018

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd has lowered its profit forecast for the financial year 2018 amid increasing operational costs.

This in particular relates to fuel related costs and charter rates combined with a slower than expected recovery of freight rates in the first five months of this year, the liner explained.

Hapag-Lloyd also referred to the uncertainty regarding the development of freight rates in the upcoming peak season as one of the factors for the outlook revision.

The new figures forecast an EBIT in a range between EUR 200-450 million and an EBITDA ranging between EUR 900 million and 1.150 billion.

Hapag-Lloyd managed to shrink its net loss in the first quarter of this year, however, market challenges persist, the company’s CEO Rolf Habben Jansen warned.

The company’s net loss for the period stood at EUR 34.3 million (USD 41 million), almost halved when compared to the last year’s loss of EUR 58.1 million.

Aside from UASC merger, the better financial performance was ascribed to a positive development of the worldwide container transport volume and a slight recovery of freight rates.

Following the mergers with the container activities of CSAV (2014) and UASC (2017) the number of the company’s employees increased by around 70 pct.

In order to streamline its operations, the company is also embarking on a workforce redundancy plan, which is expected to result in the cutting of up to 12 percent of its almost 11,000 land-based workforce.

In addition, 159 full time employees are planned to be laid off in the company’s headquarters in Hamburg by the end of 2019.

SITC Orders Two Containerships from Yangzijiang

Chinese shipping firm SITC International Holdings has placed an order for the construction of two container vessels from China’s Yangzijiang Shipbuilding.

Under the deal, unveiled on June 26, the shipowner is to pay USD 58 million for the boxship duo. The new vessels will feature a minimum container intake of around 34,800 tons each.

The first ship from the batch is scheduled for delivery by the end of September 2020, while the second vessel is set to join its owner by the end of November 2020.

SITC International said that the aggregate consideration under the shipbuilding contracts will be paid through internal resources and/or external financing.

The company decided to order additional vessel to meet the increase in demand for its services.

Yang Ming Seals Charter for 10 Boxship Newbuilds

Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation has confirmed the charter for ten newbuilding containerships with Costamare and Shoei Kisen.

Under the contract, the two shipowners will order five containerships each ranging between 11,000 and 12,000 TEU.

The newbuilds are slated to start delivery in 2020 with the last ship from the batch scheduled to be completed in 2021.

Once delivered, they will be employed on a long-term time charter by Yang Ming.

The Taiwanese shipping company received a green light from its board to move forward with the fleet renewal in February this year.

Source: World Maritime News