Continuing the trend of consolidation in container shipping Hapag-Lloyd has acquired Africa specialist NileDutch.

Hapag-Lloyd is acquiring 100% of the shares in NileDutch from Rotterdam-based Nile Dutch Investments in a deal of undisclosed value.

The move to acquire NileDutch sees Hapag-Lloyd continuing its strategy of growth through consolidation, in particular with lines operating in niche trading sectors. Past mergers and acquisitions including CP Ships, Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) and United Arab Shipping Company (UASC). It also continues the wider trend of consolidation in the container shipping sector.

“Africa is an important strategic growth market for Hapag-Lloyd. The acquisition of NileDutch strengthens our position in West Africa and will be an excellent addition to our existing activities on the continent. Our combined customer base will benefit from a denser network from and to Africa as well as from a much higher frequency of sailings,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd.

In size terms the acquisition is relatively small in terms of its overall impact on the global container shipping market. NileDutch operates 10 regular liner services with a capacity of around 35,000 teu and a fleet of around 80,000 teu of containers.

The German line has been building up its Africa business recently opening an office in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi, and in Lagos, Nigeria last September. NileDutch has 16 own offices in the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Singapore, China, Angola, Congo and Cameroon.

“Combining our business and expertise in West Africa with Hapag-Lloyd´s worldwide network will enable us to make the next step and further develop the Africa business,” said Wim van Aaist, President of NileDutch.”

The deal is subject to approval from regulatory and anti-trust authorities and Hapag-Lloyd did not give an expected date of completion.

Source: Seatrade Maritime