On 18 April 2018, the European Commission (the Commission) published its decision in relation to the acquisition of Hamburg Süd (HSDG) by Maersk. The acquisition was cleared by the Commission on 10 April 2017, with the full decision published over a year later. The decision with respect to liner shipping has no surprises and follows previous decisions on product and geographic market definitions. In particular it takes into account alliance and consortia market shares (and acknowledges that other consortia members within the same alliance do not form part of the parties’ undertakings) on the basis that they affect important parameters of competition (capacity, frequencies, schedule of the services, etc). The full text can be found here.
The long-awaited decision on the acquisition of HSDG by Maersk has been published, one year after the decision was announced, and after decisions on both the Ocean Network Express (ONE) and COSCO-OOCL mergers were published.
Although decisional practice in the relevant product and geographic markets for liner shipping remains consistent, the Commission has provided some useful insight into the overall liner shipping market, as well as its views of tramp services and container manufacturing.