Consolidation in container shipping continues

Christening of 2 new LNG-powered vessels of Containerships on 24 May 2018. Source: Containerships

The French shipping Group CMA CGM has announced this week that it is acquiring Containerships, the Finnish company specializing in the Intra-European container shipping. According to the agreement signed on 20 June 2018 by CMA CGM and Container Finance Ltd Oy, the current owner of Containerships, the entire shipping, harbour and terminal holdings of Container Finance, including Containerships plc, Multi-Link Terminals Ltd and Container Depot Holding Oy, will become part of CMA CGM Group.

Founded in 1966, Containerships is a leader in Intra-European shortsea transportation with a strong presence in the Baltic market, Russia, Northern Europe, North Africa and Turkey. With a workforce of 560 people, Containerships offers its customers a complete range of services, as well as logistics solutions by ship, truck, rail and barges. The carrier currently owns a fleet of 15 vessels.

CMA CGM believes that this acquisition will strengthen the Group’s development strategy aimed at densifying its regional presence, as Containerships’ network will efficiently complement CMA CGM and its affiliate MacAndrews’ service offering in North Europe and the Mediterranean.

Besides, with this deal, CMA CGM obtains the 25% share of Container Finance in Multi-Link Terminals Ltd, a port operator with container terminals in the Finnish ports of Vuosaari (Helsinki) and HaminaKotka as well as in the Russian port of Kronstadt, close to St. Petersburg: Moby Dik sea container terminal and Yanino Logistics Park. The remaining 75% of Multi-Link Terminals belong to the Russian terminal operator Global Ports Investments PLC, who purchased the stake back in 2007.

This transaction remains subject to approval by the European competition authorities, which may take 3-6 months.

Containerships, in its turn, says that the restructuring does not have any impacts on its brand or operations, as company continues to provide its services and further develop its routes. It also continues to execute its environmentally-friendly LNG strategy as planned and will take delivery of four LNG-fuelled vessels between August 2018 and January 2019.

In fact, the first two ships were already christened at Wenchong Shipyard in China at the end of May. Soon, the sea trials for both Containerships Nord and Containerships Strom will start, thereafter the delivery of the first vessel is scheduled for end of August, followed by the second one within six weeks.

CMA CGM is the 3rd biggest container shipping line in the world with revenue of EUR 18 bln.

Julia Louppova:
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