BRUSSELS World No. 1 shipping company Maersk Line gained EU antitrust approval on Monday for its acquisition of Hamburg Sud (HSDG) after agreeing to pull the German company out from five consortia on trade routes to address competition concerns.
The bid by Maersk, part of Denmark's A.P. Moller-Maersk (MAERSKb.CO), underscores the wave of mergers in an industry struggling with over-capacity and slowing global trade.
Hamburg Sud will withdraw from the consortia on trade routes connecting northern Europe to central America, the west coast of South America and the Middle East, the European Commission said in a statement, confirming a Reuters story on April 7.
The German company will also pull out from the trade route groups connecting the Mediterranean to the west coast of South America and the east coast of South America. Such consortia or alliances are vessel-sharing agreements where members decide jointly on capacity-setting, scheduling and ports of call.
"The commitments offered by Maersk Line and HSDG will maintain a healthy level of competition to the benefit of the very many EU companies that depend on these container shipping services," European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Alastair Macdonald)