Japanese Containership JV Gets ‘All Clear’ from Regulators

Japanese trio Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) announced that their new joint venture company, Ocean Network Express, established in July 2017, has received all necessary merger approvals from local competition authorities.

As announced on July 3, 2017, the JV company had completed the approval process in all regions and countries except South Africa as of the end of June 2017.

The Republic of South Africa’s competition commission decided to block their proposed merger as it found that the structure of the container liner shipping market “is conducive to coordination based on previous collusive conduct in the container liner market in other parts of the world.”

“Following continued negotiations with the competition authority in that country, the JV company today obtained approval with conditions requiring measures regarding competition law compliance,” a joint statement from the three companies said.

To remind, the trio is integrating the three companies’ container shipping businesses, including terminal operation businesses outside Japan.

The joint venture would operate a fleet totaling 1.4 million TEUs, placing it as sixth in the market with approximately 7 percent of global share.

K Line and MOL will each hold 31 percent, and their compatriot NYK Line will hold the remaining 38 percent stake in the JV.

The service commencement schedule for the new company remains unchanged, with operations slated to begin on April 1, 2018.

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