Grindrod to return to liner services?

Aug 22, 2005
Author: P&S

Grindrod managing director Ivan Clark says he is ‘unable to comment’ on reports from European-based publications that Grindrod is in discussion with AP Moller-Maersk with a view to Grindrod taking over the P&O Nedlloyd (PONL) share of the South Africa Europe Container Service (SAECS).

A report in last week’s Lloyds List said that Grindrod was seeking an alliance with an unnamed partner to bid for PONL’s Europe-South Africa business.

“We think there’s an opportunity and are likely to bring in partners,” Lloyd List reported Clark as having told Bloomberg.

Speaking to Ports & Ships at the weekend Clark said he was aware of the report but was ‘unable to comment.’

PONL currently has two 4,900-TEU container ships, P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck and P&O Nedlloyd Livingstone deployed on the weekly SAECS rotation, which it shares with Safmarine, Maersk-Sealand and DAL. The former Anglo-Dutch company is however expected to withdraw completely from this service by early next year, following PONL’s takeover by AP Moller-Maersk and its resignation from a number of consortia and conferences in order to meet with regulatory requirements.

Ian Shiffman’s picture of P&O Nedlloyd Heemskerck arriving in Cape Town on its maiden voyage on 8 March this year. Picture courtesy Ian Shiffman

Strong competition is expected among other liner operators for the available slots.

In recent months Grindrod has aggressively expanded its shipping and logistics activities and it was inevitable that such speculation would appear. This would mark a return to the liner trades after the South African group withdrew several years ago in order to focus its shipping activities on the bulk services of Island View Shipping and Unicorn Tankers.

Grindrod has since expanded its landbased and logistics operations and is diversifying the group’s activities.

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