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CMA CGM swoops for Cheng Lie Navigation

Taipei: French liner giant CMA CGM has swooped for Taiwanese intra-Asia operator Cheng Lie Navigation (CNC Line). As first reported on Seatrade Asia Online last December, CMA CGM has been hunting around Taipei looking for an intra-Asia player to fold into its network. CMA CGM already knows Cheng Lie well, the pair operating services together for some time.

The Taiwanese operator listed last February in Taipei. Established in 1971, its services call at China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. In the past Cheng Lie has talked of expanding into new markets such as the Middle East, India and the US east coast. The firm owns two of its 10-ship fleet with capacities varying from 750 teu to 1,700 teu.

CMA CGM is currently the world's third largest container line - and can boast being Wal-Mart's most favoured container line. Analysts estimate Cheng Lie will cost the Marseilles-headquartered firm around $200m. CMA CGM's lack of a solid intra-Asia network has been the only genuine hole in its global network. Interviewed exclusively in this month's issue of Seatrade magazine, CMA CGM evp (and Delmas chairman) Alain Wils said the company was 'looking to develop its intra-Asian trade, which is (currently) the most important area in shipping.'

Just over three years ago another European owner picked up a Taiwanese container line, Hamburg Sud buying out the remains of the bankrupt Kien Hung. Since then the industry has undergone considerable consolidation with, for example, Hapag Lloyd taking over CP Ships and Maersk buying P&O Nedlloyd.  [28/02/07]

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