• Partnership follows CMA CGM’s offer to buy Neptune Orient
  • Latest plan would increase cargo traffic into Singapore

PSA International Pte., the world’s biggest container terminal operator, will form a venture with CMA CGM SA to operate four berths in its home base of Singapore to help increase cargo traffic into the city-state.

The two companies will jointly operate the CMA CGM-PSA Lion Terminal Pte. starting in the second half of this year, they said in a statement Wednesday.

The venture follows the French company’s offer in December to buy Neptune Orient Lines Ltd., Singapore’s biggest container shipping line, for S$3.38 billion ($2.5 billion), and make the city-state its Southeast Asian headquarters. These moves would help increase cargo volumes through Singapore, which is building a new port in the eastern part of the country to double its capacity and attract a growing number of large ships plying the Asia-Europe trade lane.

Singapore, the world’s second-busiest container port, handled 12.5 million 20-foot boxes in the first five months of this year, 6 percent fewer than 13.4 million a year earlier, according to data on the website of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.

CMA CGM’s acquisition of Neptune Orient will strengthen the combined company’s position on shipping routes in key markets such as the U.S. and within Asia.

Neptune Orient’s APL unit, which operates container ships, has a strong presence on intra-Asia and trans-Pacific trades, while CMA CGM, the world’s third-biggest container shipping company, has a leading position on Asia-Europe routes, the companies said. The deal received approval from the European Commission and China.

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