Hapag-Lloyd acquiring stake in Italian logistics company

Senior executive says “strategic assets along the supply chain are a key part of Hapag-Lloyd’s Strategy 2023.”

German container shipping line Hapag-Lloyd announced Thursday it is acquiring a 49% stake in Italian logistics company Spinelli Group. 

The Spinelli family will retain a majority stake of 51%, according to Hapag-Lloyd. 

“The parties have agreed to not disclose any financial details of the deal,” the four-sentence announcement said. “The completion of the transaction is subject to the approval of the responsible antitrust authorities, which is expected within the next months.” 

The nearly 60-year-old Spinelli Group, headquartered at the Port of Genoa and with locations throughout Italy, manages the “logistics chain of containers from the port docks to the final recipient: disembarkation, embarkation, cargo handling and container operations within the port terminals, truck and intermodal transport, warehousing, repair, container trading services and services that cover the entire cycle of assistance for goods, ships, crews and passengers,” according to its website.  

Juan Pablo Richards, Hapag-Lloyd’s senior managing director of southern Europe, told American Shipper that the ocean carrier and the logistics provider have had a long-standing business relationship. 

“We see it as a complementary service from our side and together we have the common interest to have a really good product ready for our customers,” said Richards, adding that investments in “strategic assets along the supply chain are a key part of Hapag-Lloyd’s Strategy 2023.” 

“The participation in the Spinelli Group, one of Italy’s largest logistics providers, will help Hapag-Lloyd to further improve not only its competitive position in the Mediterranean but to strengthen and diversify its logistics services in the supply chain,” he said. “At the same time, Hapag-Lloyd will use its minority shares in the long-established Genoese company prudently for the benefit and development of the port and the entire logistics infrastructure of the region and beyond.” 

Hapag-Lloyd is the fifth-largest container shipping company in the world. The second largest, Maersk, has been focused on expanding its service offerings and reach, particularly in North America. A.P. Moller – Maersk acquired Performance Team, which operates more than 150 distribution and fulfillment facilities in North America, in April 2020 in a $545 million deal. Maersk added to its North American first-, middle- and last-mile capabilities with its February acquisition of Pilot Freight Services for $1.8 billion.  

With the Spinelli acquisition, Hapag-Lloyd continues its investment in European businesses. In September 2021, Hapag-Lloyd acquired a 30% stake in Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven and 50% of the shares of Rail Terminal Wilhelmshaven in Germany. 

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Habben Jansen said at the time that it was “very important to have a robust network and that means you should concentrate, especially in transshipment, in a limited number of places. In those places, it’s then important to have control over terminal capacity.”

Hapag-Lloyd also has made Africa a key target of its growth strategy. In March, Hapag-Lloyd announced it was acquiring Deutsche Afrika-Linien (DAL) as part of that. Last year Hapag-Lloyd acquired NileDutch to strengthen its presence and service offering to and from West Africa. 

But Habben Jansen said in a call with reporters in February that Hapag-Lloyd was being cautious when it came to acquisitions. 

“Many of the prices people are looking for are sort of ridiculous. I’m a firm believer that buying expensive assets is in the long run not a good strategy,” Habben Jansen said. “If we see a good opportunity, we will do something, but if we do not see that, we will not be forced to spend the money.” 

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