Following the collapse of merger talks with Hapag-Lloyd in March 2013, Hamburg Süd is “working on alternatives” for its future, according to chief executive, Ottmar Gast, who added “size isn’t everything”.
Announcing its 2013 results, the shipping group said it was “Doing well under difficult business conditions”; these included subdued market growth and operational problems in Brazilian ports, which, as a result, the German shipping line and its Brazilian subsidiary Aliança were only able to increase liner service volumes by 1% year-on-year to around 3.3m teu. The line’s revenue declined 4% to €5.25bn (US$714.79bn).
The two companies started consolidation talks as the shipping industry struggled with a combination of vessel over capacity, weak global economies and low freight rates. Such a merger would have created the world’s fourth-largest shipping line but the talks failed when neither party could agree on which should have management control.