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In what is possibly the least surprising news in container shipping – other than freight rates are on the slide – Chinese business title Caixin reports today that the government has given formal approval to Cosco and China Shipping to merge, following months of talks. Formal announcements from the partially state-owned companies are expected tomorrow, but the practicalities of the deal will be messy – according to Caixin sources, “China Shipping Group will be transformed into a financing company for the industry and made to hand over all its shipping assets to Cosco. The merger will be extremely complicated and will involve the integration of sales networks, reorganising of shipping routes and transfer of assets at domestic and foreign ports”.

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