As the shipping industry continues its trend of mergers and consolidation two announcements made yesterday mark the latest developments in events set in train towards the end of 2016. Following a decision made by the Competition Commission of Singapore (CCS) The joint venture proposed last October by Japan’s three leading box ship operators looks set to begin operations in just over a year. Between them, Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK Line) will have a fleet with a capacity of around 1.4 million teus making it the sixth largest operator. The JV will include both ship and terminal operation and the current plan is to establish the new company by July this year with operations beginning probably in April next year. Other shipping and logistics services currently operated by the three companies are not included in the JV and will continue separately. The JV is not quite a partnership of equals as K Line and MOL will hold 31% each with NYK as the major partner with 38%. Consolidation in the shipmanagement sphere is less common than in the container sector where the trend is for just one major merger or acquisition taking place annually. After the merger of Anglo-Eastern and Univan in 2915 and the takeover of Bibby by V Group last year, this year’s development is the possible merger of Columbia Shipmanagement and Marlow Navigation which has now completed due diligence after being proposed in November last year and is awaiting clearance from competition authorities in Cyprus and Germany where the two both have strong presences. Those decisions are expected in mid-summer this year. If the merger goes ahead, the combined operation would have around 500 ships in technical management and crewing contracts for over 1,300 ships.