A new DynaLines study by Netherlands-based Dynamar B.V. on the possible merger of Hapag-Lloyd and Hamburg Süd finds the combined companies “would have a lower exposure to the more challenging, but still important East-West routes and a further improved coverage of the believed more promising North-South trades.”
The 14 page Hamburg Express report, released Tuesday, noted that if the two German carriers—who announced they were discussing a possible merger in December—do combine, they “will have a more balanced portfolio than that of larger Maersk Line.”
Combined, the two German companies would have about 57 percent of their liftings in the North-South and regional routes, 14 percent in the Europe-Far East trade, 16 percent in the transatlantic and 14 percent in the transpacific. Maersk’s shares in these trades are 41 percent, 39 percent, 8 percent and 12 percent, repectively.
DynaLiners said that with its bigger exposure to the North-South trades Hamburg Süd’s carryings have grown at a compound annual growth rate of 8 percent since 2000, compared to just 4 percent for Hapag-Lloyd.
It is not known how the European competition authorities will view a combination of the German carriers, but DynaLiners’ experts say the Herfindahl-Hirshman Index, commonly used to measure industry concentration, would increase from 703 to 724.
That increase shows “some impact indeed, but it should be considered that a measure in excess of 1,500 would point at a moderately concentrated industry. So in this respect: not really any substantial progress in consolidation.”
Both companies face challenges because of stagnating growth in the container shipping industry, which DynaLiners said has amounted to only 1 percent to 2 percent in 2012.
Hapag-Lloyd’s orderbook is about 15 percent of its fleet, it says, but introducing seven 13,200 TEU ships, “in a probably stagnant Europe-Far East trade is not an easy job.” Hamburg Süd has an order book equal to about 40 percent of its fleet, which DynaLiners says “looks much more problematic now that the South America routes also seem to have fallen to stagnation.” – Chris Dupin