The trend of liner shipping companies expanding their portfolios beyond traditional marine cargo carriage has continued. This week it was MSC, now the world’s largest container shipping line, that made its move into airfreight, expressing an interest to the Italian government in the acquisition of a majority stake in ITA Airways.

“The MSC Group aims to create a partnership with the Italian government and Lufthansa as the project’s industrial partner. Lufthansa has already expressed its interest in taking part in the initiative,” said the company.

In a statement, it added that its interest derives from the possibility of activating positive synergies for both companies in the cargo and passenger sectors where the MSC Group is a global leader.

MSC and Lufthansa, following the expression of interest, require an exclusivity period of 90 business days and subject to regulatory approvals and due diligence. 

MSC is not the first liner company to express an interest in expanding its services into airfreight; CMA CGM made inroads last year when it launched CMA CGM Air Cargo and purchased four Airbus A330-200F freighter aircraft, which will be operated by a European airline.

During December 2021, MSC made an offer to acquire Bolloré Africa Logistics, which comprises all of Bolloré Group’s transport and logistics activities in Africa.