Container shipping suffers from extreme overcapacity so a merger between Hapag-Lloyd and United Arab Shipping Company is welcomed realignment. But the real story here may be one of Arab government policy, not sector consolidation. The Kuwait-based firm is collectively owned by GCC member states, dating to an era when these governments fussed over access to global shipping channels. That view now seems quaint. We expect that the UASC board will be quick to jettison this underperforming, if not unwanted asset. The future of the GCC lies in high-impact investments that drive job growth. Few officials in the region would dare include container shipping on the list. ■
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