May 3 - The sale and purchase agreement for Maersk Line's acquisition of Hamburg Süd has been approved by the boards of Maersk Line and the Oetker Group.

Maersk Line will acquire Hamburg Süd for EUR3.7 billion (USD4.04 billion) on a cash and debt-free basis.

While Hamburg Süd will maintain its own structure and separate brands, the combined network will include an increased number of weekly sailings, faster transit times, more port calls, more direct port-to-port calls and less need for transhipment, says Maersk Line.

With the acquisition, Maersk Line and Hamburg Süd will have a combined fleet will of 743 container vessels.

The acquisition still remains subject to regulatory approvals, but Maersk Line expects to close the transaction by the end of 2017.

Meanwhile, the Tripartite Agreement, filed by Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha ("K" Line), Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), and Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), has been rejected by the Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) on jurisdictional grounds.

The agreement to form a joint container shipping service, which was filed at the Commission on March 24, 2017, was rejected as the Shipping Act does not provide the FMC with the authority to review and approve mergers.

According to the FMC, after consideration, it determined that the three carriers were establishing a merged, new business entity and that action is among the type of agreements excluded from FMC review.