Zeaborn Logistics has acquired Erck Rickmer’s ship management and ship brokerage activities.

However, the sale won’t see Erck Rickmers Group depart the maritime sector.

Subject to approval by antitrust authorities, the purchase takes retrospective effect from 1 January but no price was made public.

In acquiring the ER Schiffahrt and Harper Petersen & Co brands, Zeaborn has taken on an extra 3,000 staff, 2,800 of whom are at sea, and added 61 containerships to its fleet.

Mr Rickmers (pictured), a Hamburg businessman and politician, said the combined entity would have the“critical” size to operate successfully.

“Consolidation among German ship management companies has long been overdue, but is needed in light of future market requirements,” he said.

“Zeaborn is pursuing a dynamic growth strategy that offers its customers and employees promising prospects.”

The managing partners of Zeaborn, Ove Meyer and Jan-Hendrik Tobbe, suggested further acquisitions were in sightand Mr Meyer said he was “very pleased” to have added the two Rickmers’ companies to the portfolio, describing them as a “great fit”.

He said: “We will continue to drive further growth thanks to our clear organisational structure; for example, through the rapid integration of additional tonnage and businesses.”

Despite selling the two units, the Erck Rickmers group will continue to operate 34 fully owned or jointly financed vessels under its own flag. And recently it established Blue Star Group to develop shipping instruments for institutional investors.

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