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For Sale: Container Shipping Line

The supervisory board of TUI AG approved a decision to “prepare a separation of container shipping from the group.” All options will be examined, said the board statement, including spin-off, merger or divestment as a single entity.

Hapag-Lloyd became one of the top five shipping lines in the world after acquiring CP Shipsin 2005. Its 2007 revenues topped €6 billion ($9 billion).

Singapore-based NOL is reportedly interested in the line. A number of other parties are rumored to be interested, but only Ian Karan of Hamburg has expressed interest in the line.

Hapag-Lloyd's largest volumes transit the Atlantic trade lines (1,456,000 TEUs in 2007). This is closely followed by the Asia-Europe lane at 1,374,000 TEUs and the trans-Pacific lanes at 1,044,000 TEUs.

The Atlantic trades rose 4.6% from 2006 to 2007. Fastest growing was the Europe-Asia lanes, which increased 16.1% in the same period. Though a smaller volume (890,000 TEUs), Latin American trades rose 12% in 2007. Trans-Pacific trades were up 10.2% while Australasia, Hapag-Lloyd's smallest market, remained flat.

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