Although no formal discussions have not taken place, Koichi Muto, President of MOL, is reported as saying that such a move cannot be ruled out in the future. The last similar consolidation of shipping lines was in 2005 when APM-Maersk acquired P&O Nedlloyd and Hapag-Lloyd acquired CP Ships.
None of the individual Japanese carriers currently commands a top-three position in any of their key markets. Their combination would create the largest carrier in the Far East-North America market, the second-largest carrier in the Far East-South America and Far East-Oceania markets and third largest container lien in the Far East-North Europe and intra-Far East markets.
According to Alphaliner, a merger would make economic sense and strategic logic as the container shipping business continues to drag down the overall earnings of all three carriers; their market shares have fallen steadily throughout the last decade.