Danish shipping giant Maersk said Thursday it had agreed to buy German rival Hamburg Süd in a deal that will combine the world’s largest and seventh-largest shippers, in another sign of consolidation among container shippers.
Maersk said it had signed a preliminary agreement to buy Hamburg Süd from its owner, Germany’s Oetker Group, a family-owned conglomerate based in Bielefeld that also makes frozen pizzas, puddings and other processed foods.
Copenhagen-based Maersk and privately-held Oetker did not release financial details of the transaction, which still must be approved by European antitrust officials. Hamburg Süd had around $6.7 billion in sales in 2015. The company has a fleet of 189 cargo ships, about 48 of which it owns. The container shipping arm of Maersk, Maersk Line, had turnover of $23.7 billion last year.
The merger is the latest consolidation in global shipping, which has been suffering amid a downturn in global trade ever since the 2008 financial crisis.