Copenhagen/Hamburg — AP Moller-Maersk, owner of the world’s largest container line, said mergers such as the combination of its three main Japanese rivals provide relief to an ailing industry that has been characterised by overcapacity. Nippon Yusen KK, Mitsui OSK Lines and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha said on Monday they plan to merge, giving them control of 7% of the world’s container shipping trade. Its the latest example of industry measures to create scale in an effort to adapt to a world in which freight rates have been under pressure since 2007. Soren Skou, Maersk Line’s CEO who also runs the Maersk group, said in October the company would stop buying new ships and instead try to expand through takeovers. "We welcome consolidation," Mikkel Elbek Linnet, a spokesman for Maersk Line, said. "Our industry is fragmented and consolidation can help transform our business for the benefit of our customers." The comments come as Maersk puts its group structure under strategic review. Manageme...

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