The world's largest container carrier Maersk Line A/S is taking over the seventh largest container shipping line in the world, Hamburg Südamerikanische Damps-Ges. (Hamburg-South America Line), owned by the Oetker Group, of Germany.
AP Møller-Maersk A/S, the parent company of the Maersk Line, said it would give more details following the approval of the sales and purchase agreement expected early in the second quarter of this year with the agreement finalised by the end of the year.
The Hamburg-based line, generally known as Hamburg Süd, operates services from northern Europe to South America and has 130 container ships with a capacity of 625,000 teus. It has 5,960 employees in more than 250 offices across the world.
With this acquisition, the Maersk Line will increase its nominal capacity to around 3.8mn teu (now 3.1mn teu) while lowering the average age of the combined fleet of more than 700 ships to 8.7 years compared to the Maersk Line’s present vessel age of 9.2 years.
Up to the Second World War, the Hamburg-South America Line was the main German competition for the British shipping companies on the passenger and cargo services between northern Europe and Brazil and the River Plate.
The line was formed in 1871 and among those involved in its formation were two Tyneside companies, the shipbuilders C Mitchell & Co and the shipowners Watts, Milburn & Co, and nine leading German merchants including the Hamburg shipbroker August Bolten.
The first sailing by a ship of the new company was in January, 1872, from Hamburg to Rio de Janeiro, Santos and Bahia and later that year the service to Montevideo and Buenos Aires began. The line also started a ferry service between Buenos Aires and Montevideo. By 1890, the line had 27 ships and this had risen to 57 ships by the start of the First World War in 1914.
In 1927, the Hamburg-South America Line had introduced the passenger liner Cap Arcona onto their service between Germany and the River Plate. At 27,560grt, she was the largest German passenger ship on the River Plate service. The Cap Arcona was built by Blohm & Voss AG, of Hamburg, and she left Hamburg on Nov 19, 1927, on her maiden voyage to Buenos Aires. The ship had accommodation for 575 First class, 275 Second class and 465 Third class passengers.