COSCO may make a bid of more than $4 billion for Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line, according to various media reports.
The deployment of ultra-large containerships has not only increased average vessel size on key east west trades, but has accelerated the consolidation of carriers into vessel sharing agreements and alliances.
The container freight market is strengthening as carriers begin some 2017 negotiations, and Drewry said some shippers could see contract rates rise 20-40 percent in worst case scenarios.
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Historically low ocean freight rates have caused carriers to implement cost-cutting measures that have reduced reliability, meaning shippers need to be more flexible in how they procure capacity.
Japan's three largest ocean carriers said Monday in Tokyo they will merge their container operations in mid-2017 to form what would be the sixth largest line, continuing a recent trend of industry consolidation.
The South Korean government revealed plans earlier this week to order more than 250 vessels and extend 6.5 trillion won in financing by 2020 to prop up a shipbuilding industry that continues to suffer from weak demand and mounting losses.