Piraeus port welcomes Japanese container line merger  

Piraeus port’s Cosco administration has welcomed the prospect of the merger of Japan’s K Line, Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) and NYK believing it bodes well for Greece’s largest port.

The merger is seen as an example of industry measures to create scale in an effort to adapt to a world in which freight rates have been under pressure since 2007.

The pending joint venture, announced 31 October, will create a new giant in the container shipping industry that will control a fleet of 134 vessels with a capacity of 1,054m teu, and a value of $6.1bn.

Given the already strong presence of K Lines in Piraeus plus the prospect of attracting its alliance partners to the Greek port is seen as extremely positive by the Piraeus Port Authority’s new, Cosco-controlled administration.

Cosco, Hapag-Lloyd and Yang Ming Line are already important clients of the port and as much Europe-destined trade from Asia has been showing a preference for Mediterranean ports over those in Northern Europe in the last few years, the merger of the three Japanese groups is seen as strategically beneficial for Greece and its ambition to become the main gate for Asian commerce to the continent.

It is also being noted that alliance member MOL is among the list of suitors for the 67% stake in Greece’s second port, Thessaloniki.

The new shipping giant is expected to legally become a single entity from 1 July 2017 and start operating at the start of the new Japanese financial year, nine months later.


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