Japan lines MOL, NYK, K Line to join shipping, terminal ops

Three major Japanese container shipping lines say they plan to merge their shipping and overseas terminal operations as the industry struggles with overcapacity and mounting losses.

Mitsui O.S.K. Lines, Nippon Yusen K.K. and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha, or K Line, said Monday they are forming a joint venture to unite their shipping operations. They also are merging terminal management businesses outside Japan.

The companies said in a statement they will have a combined fleet capacity of 1.4 million TEUs, putting them in sixth rank worldwide, with a 7 percent global market share.

Container shippers have been booking heavy losses as freight rates have sunk. The three Japanese shippers, which belong to the Hapag-Llyd and Yang Ming Line alliance, expect to save 110 billion yen ($1.1 billion) in costs by merging.