Could UASC be planning to acquire embattled APL?

A report by Alphaliner has suggested UASC may be among a handful of shipping giants planning to buy APL
A report by Alphaliner has suggested UASC may be among a handful of shipping giants planning to buy APL
A report by Alphaliner has suggested UASC may be among a handful of shipping giants planning to buy APL

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United Arab Shipping Company (UASC) could be among a handful of ocean carriers considering acquiring embattled APL, according to a report by analyst agency Alphaliner.

"Rumors of a sale of APL have surfaced as the Singapore-based carrier has continuously failed to turn around its loss-making liner business despite several management changes in the past decade,” says Alphaliner.

“A number of potential buyers have been put forward, including OOCL, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk, CMA CGM, COSCO, UASC and even PIL, although none of these carriers have publicly confirmed their interest,” the report adds.

Maritime & Ports Middle East reached out to UASC for comment, but a spokesperson who asked not to be named said it was unlikely, given the carrier’s ambitious expansion program with 17 ships on order (11 15,000-teu and six 18,000-teu).

That US $2-billion order was awarded in its entirety to Hyundai Heavy Industries.

APL, formerly known as American President Lines, has suffered accumulative losses of around US $1.5 billion over the last five years, along with declining market share from 4.2% of the global market to 2.9% today.

The company, which was based in the United States for much of the 20th century, but is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), is therefore seen as an obvious acquisition subject.

Maersk Line's senior press officer, Michael Storgaard, also declined to comment on the report when asked by ShippingWatch, stating only that the carrier "does not comment on rumors and speculations."

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