GCTL8.com (FocusAsia Media Ltd)

TOKYO, Nov 1 (FAM) – Japan’s three major shipping conglomerates have agreed to integrate their container shipping businesses next year and start joint services in 2018, effectively creating the world’s sixth-largest box ship operator with 110 ships and an estimated 7% of global capacity.

The move by Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K’ Line) follows months of industry rumours that a merger was under discussion, and removes the possibility of overseas interests purchasing any of the lines’ container assets.