While only 17 large scale international container carriers remain as of January 2017, compared to 20 a year ago, Alphaliner, in its latest weekly report, says Hong Kong's Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) may be on the verge of becoming the latest box shipping major to be swallowed up by consolidation.
OOCL's principal, Orient Overseas (International) Limited (OOIL), has seen its share price grow by 20 percent since January 1, 2017, spurring on speculation that OOCL is an acquisition target.
"OOCL has long been viewed as a prize catch due to its consistently profitable container shipping operations and strong yield management," said Alphaliner.
OOCL has long been viewed as a prize catch
"However, it has not been immune to the liner market downturn and is expected to post a full year net loss for 2016 - its first negative annual performance since 2009."
COSCO Shipping and Evergreen Marine Corporation (Evergreen) have been named as potential buyers of OOCL. although neither company has publicly expressed any interest in participating in a new round of liner acquisitions.
COSCO and Evergreen, as well as CMA CGM S.A. (CMA CGM), are partners with OOCL in the OCEAN Alliance, which is set to be launched in April.