Container Carrier Mergers & Acquisitions, 1977 to present

Container Carrier Mergers & Acquisitions, 1977 to present

As of July 9, 2017


Cosco Shipping Holdings on July 9 said it would pay $6.3 billion for Orient Overseas Container Line with the help of the Shanghai International Port Group, which will take a 10 percent stake in the company. Cosco will retain the OOCL brand after completing the acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approvals.

Maersk Line on June 13 announces the sale of Brazilian cabotage carrier Mercosul Line to CMA CGM to gain regulatory approval for its purchase of Hamburg Süd. Deal closed Dec. 1, 2017.

Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Co. on May 24 seal the business combination agreement they signed with support of their stockholders on July 18, 2016.


• Maersk Line on Dec. 1 announced it will acquire Hamburg Süd and retain its brand. Maersk Line anticipates to close the deal (subject to regulatory approvals) by year-end 2017.

• “K” Line, MOL, and NYK Line agreed on Oct. 31 to establish a new joint-venture company to integrate the container shipping businesses (including worldwide terminal operating businesses excluding Japan) of all three companies subject to regulatory approvals. The establishment of the new joint-venture company is planned for July 1st, 2017, with the planned business start date of April 1st, 2018.

• CMA CGM Group acquires majority share of Neptune Orient Lines, (NOL) and its principal operating brand APL on June 9, and closes its voluntary general offer to remaining NOL stockholders on July 18. NOL became a wholly-owned subsidiary of CMA CGM Group following the completion of a compulsory acquisition process with the then-remaining NOL stockholders from July 19 forward that was concluded on Sept. 5.

King Ocean acquires the services of Interocean Lines and Trinity Shipping Line on May 1. 

• Cosco and China Shipping officially restructure and merge effective Feb. 18, and later rebrand as China Shipping.

2015 • Crowley Maritime completes the purchase of SeaFreight Line, SeaFreight Agencies, and SeaPack, liner and logistics companies serving Florida, the Caribbean and South and Central America on Nov. 2.

Hamburg Süd acquires the container liner business of Compañía Chilena de Navegación Interoceánica S.A. (CCNI) upon closing on March 27, 2015. Hamburg Süd will continue the CCNI brand and operations in the west coast of South America trade with Asia, Europe and North America. 

• Pacific International Lines acquires Mariana Express Lines on March 11, 2015.

Matson acquires Horizon Lines including its Alaska operations in late May 2015 upon the completion of the sale of Horizon's Hawaii operations to The Pasha Group. Separately, Horizon Lines terminated its Puerto Rico liner operations at year-end 2014.

2014 Saltchuck acquires Tropical Shipping from AGL Resources, which merged with Nicor in 2011.

• Baltic Reefers acquires NYKCool from NYK Reefers Ltd. The name changed to Cool Carriers AB; its 25 vessel fleet will remain independent.

• The merger of Hapag-Lloyd with the container business activities of CSAV was completed Dec. 1 upon approvals from competition authorities. 

2007 • CMA CGM Group acquires U.S. Lines Ltd. (not related to the original U.S. Lines), CoMaNav and CNC Line.
• Hamburg Sud takes over liner operations of Costa Container Lines to the Mediterranean, South America East and North Coast, Central America and the Caribbean.
2006 • CMA CGM Group acquires Delmas, OT Africa Line, Setramar, and SudCargoes.
• Hamburg Sud acquires FESCO's cross-trade activities from Australia/New Zealand to Asia and North America
2005 • A.P. Moller-Maersk acquires P&O Nedlloyd Container Line. The Maersk Sealand and P&O Nedlloyd names were changed to Maersk Line in February 2006. P&O's Farrell Lines subsidiary becomes part of the U.S.-flag Maersk Line Ltd. business unit.
• Hamburg Sud acquires 100 % of Ybarra Sud y Cia. Sudamerica S.A. (Ybarra Sud), up from its 50% stake in 1989.
• Hapag-Lloyd's parent TUI AG acquires CP Ships, previously traded on the N.Y. Stock Exchange as TEU.
2003 • Hamburg Sud acquires Ellerman services to the Mediterranean and to India/Pakistan; and takes over Kien Hung liner services between Asia and South America.
2002 • A.P. Moller Group acquires the liner division of the Danish Torm Lines and integrates it into both Maersk Sealand and Safmarine.
• CMA CGM Group acquires MacAndrews.
• CP Ships acquires Italia di Navigazione from d'Amico Societa di Navigazione.
• Sea Star Line acquires U.S.-flagged Navieras de Puerto Rico/NPR Inc. from Holt Group.
• Seaboard Marine acquires Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic services from Tecmarine Lines.
• Tropical Shipping acquires Eastern Caribbean and Guianas service from Tecmarine Lines.
2001 • Grimaldi Group acquires Atlantic Container Line (ACL).
2000 • CP Ships acquires Christensen Canadian African Lines (CCAL).
• CSAV acquires Norasia.
• P&O Nedlloyd Container Lines acquires Farrell Lines.
1999 • A.P. Moller acquires Safmarine Container Lines, marketed as Safmarine, SCL, CMBT and Safbank.
• A.P. Moller Group acquires Sea-Land Service international container business from CSX Corp.
• CMA merges with CGM.
• CP Ships acquires full control of Americana Ships from Transportadora Maritima Mexicana plus TMM's worldwide liner services.
• CSAV acquires majority holdings in both Companhia Libra de Navegacao, Brazil, and Montemar Maritima S.A., Uruguay, (rebranded as Libra de Navegacion Uruguay, in 2006).
• Hamburg Sud acquires South Pacific Container Lines and Transroll's Europe-South America East Coast liner operations.
• Hamburg Sud acquires Inter-America services of Crowley American Transport (CAT).
• MOL and Navix Line merge.
1998 • CP Ships acquires Australia-New Zealand Direct Line.
• CP Ships acquires Ivaran Lines.
• Evergreen Marine acquires Lloyd Triestino, later branded Italia Maritima.
• Hamburg Sud acquires Alianca and South Seas Steamship.
• NYK Line and Showa Line merge.
• P & O Nedlloyd Container Line acquires Blue Star Line.
• Totem Resources, now known as Saltchuk Resources, acquires Sea-Barge and rebrands as Sea Star Line.
• Transportadora Maritima Mexicana and CP Ships create a joint venture service, Americana Ships.
1997 • CP Ships acquires Contship Containerlines.
• CP Ships acquires Lykes Lines.
• Hanjin becomes majority shareholder in DSR Senator Line.
• Neptune Orient Lines acquires American President Lines.
1996 • The British P&O Group's container business merges with the Dutch Royal Nedlloyd N.V. (Nedlloyd Line) to establish P&O Nedlloyd.
• Transportadora Maritima Mexicana acquires Flota Mercante Grancolombiana.
1995 • CP Ships acquires Cast Group.
1993 A.P. Moller takes over the Danish East Asiatic Co., known as EAC, including its Far East & Australia container liner business.
1991 • Blue Star Line acquires ACT/PACE, with the exception of the Europe/Australia service, which goes to P & O Containers.
• NYK Line acquires Nippon Liner System.
1990 • Hamburg Sud acquires Rotterdam-Zuid America Line and several divisions of Furness Withy (Shipping).
1989 • Hamburg Sud acquires 50% stake of Ybarra Sud y Cia. Sudamerica S.A. (Ybarra Sud).
• Japan Line and Y.S. Line combines as Navix Line.
• Totem Resources, now known as Saltchuk Resources, acquires IOM.
1988 Hanjin Container Line and KS Line forms Hanjin Shipping Co.
1987 • P&O Containers acquires Trans Freight Lines (TFL).
1986 • Crowley Maritime acquires Coordinated Caribbean Transport with Crowley Caribbean Transport rebranding.
• Hamburg Sud reaches 100 percent stake in Deutsche Nah-Ost-Linie.
• P &O achieves sole ownership of OCL, Overseas Containers Ltd., and rebrands as P & O Containers.
1985 • U.S. Lines acquires ships and other assets of Delta Steamship Lines.
1984 • OOCL gains full ownership of Dart Containerline's trans-Atlantic services from prior one-third
1982 • Crowley Maritime acquires Delta Steamship Lines from Holiday Inns.
• NICOR acquires Tropical Shipping.
• Totem Resources, now known as Saltchuk Resources, acquires Totem Ocean Trailer Express.
• U.S. Lines acquires the Moore-McCormack fleet and routes.
1981 • Trans Freight Lines (TFL) acquires Seatrain Line's North Atlantic services.
1980 • OOCL aquires Furness Withy (Shipping), including Manchester Liners.
• OOCL acquires Seatrain Pacific's trans-Pacific services.
1978 • Delta Steamship Lines acquires Prudential Lines' Latin America services.
1977 • Malcom McLean acquired U.S. Lines.

This chart does not include start-ups, bankruptcies, or changes in holdings within a company without accompanying M & A activity.
Do you have additional container carrier mergers and acquisitions activity recommendations for the above chronology?
Please contact Marsha Salisbury, JOC research editor,, 973-776-7828.


very usful , thank you