Hamburg Sud Acquisition by Maersk to Follow ‘Light touch Integration Model’

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The acquisition of Hamburg Sud by Maersk Line will be a “light-touch integration model”, give Maersk a “very strong platform in Latin America”, and create “significant cost synergies”, Maersk Line and Maersk Group chief executive Søren Skou told a press conference.

It was revealed the acquisition will involve combining the two networks and see Hamburg Sud join 2M as well as strengthening Maersk Line’s foothold in the reefer market.

Mr Skou said: “We are much more looking at a light touch integration model, keeping Hamburg Sud substantially in the shape and form it is today.  It has a very strong market position in the north-south trades and so we believe it makes a lot of sense to maintain the company in the shape and form it is today, but we will be merging the networks and taking the opportunity to compare prices for every service we are buying to use the opportunity to get the lowest cost.”

Homing in on Maersk’s interest in South America, he added: “Maersk Line has grown substantially in Latin America in the last 10 years; it has been an attractive market in terms of growth and general outlook and it has a very high share of reefer cargo, so this is clearly demonstrating this market is very interesting.”

For the long-term design, a joint network will be designed in the north-south trade so that customers of both lines get more choice, more coverage and most likely a faster transit time.  Mr Skou added that as there would be more ships to optimise, they will be able to put together a network that is “more attractive for customers and lower cost for us”.

On the east-west trades, it was revealed the long-term plan was to move Hamburg Sud’s business to the 2M network.  Asked by a member of the press whether Maersk planned to keep Hamburg Sud’s brand in the east-west trades, he replied: “We have not made any decisions on that.”

Mr Skou said Maersk wants to preserve Hamburg Sud’s global commercial organisation, brand and its customer relationship and management structure.  He said where they can integrate the backroom activities for lower cost they will do that, but added “the bulk of the synergies we see will be coming from the low variable cost of buying power not from reducing headcounts.”

Mr Skou said he was not able to talk about the price until the final agreement went through, but he commented: “We believe we have offered a fair price for a quality company.”

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Source: Container Shipping & Trade

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