Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News
Germany-based ocean carrier Hapag-Lloyd said it has signed a binding agreement to merge with Chilean counterpart Cia. Sud Americana de Vapores to form the world’s fourth-largest container shipping company.
Both companies have approved the merger, but the transaction is still subject to approval from competition authorities, Hapag-Lloyd said in an announcement.
The ocean carriers announced in January that they had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding as they pursued the merger.
The two are combining to compete on more equal terms with industry leader A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S after an oversupply of vessels coincided with slowing demand to produce a prolonged slump in container shipping. The global financial crisis slowed trade and caused the worst decline in prices for carrying cargo since containerization became global in the 1970s.