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Hapag-Lloyd Buys SAAM's Terminal and Logistics Business for $1B

SAAM terminal in Guayaquil, Ecuador
SAAM's terminal at the Port of Guayaquil, Ecuador (SAAM)

Published Oct 5, 2022 9:30 PM by The Maritime Executive

German shipping giant Hapag-Lloyd is expanding its business in the growing Americas market by committing $1 billion to acquire the terminal and logistics businesses of Chilean firm SM SAAM.

Hapag-Lloyd has signed a deal to take full control of SAAM Ports and SAAM Logistics’ terminal business and logistics services, including real estate assets. SM SAAM’s tugboat services and airport logistics businesses are not part of the deal.

The transaction will give Hapag-Lloyd a stake in 10 terminals in six countries, strengthening its presence in Latin America. This new division of Hapag-Lloyd will operate as an independent entity.

“Investing in terminal infrastructure is a key element of our strategic agenda, and Latin America is one of our stronghold markets. Acquiring SM SAAM’s terminal operations and complementary logistics services will help us to further strengthen our business while building up a robust and attractive terminal portfolio,” said Rolf Habben Jansen, Hapag-Lloyd CEO.

SM SAAM is a terminal operator, logistics company and towage provider active in multiple countries in the Americas. The company’s terminal business comprises 10 terminals in six North, Central and South American countries with around 4,000 employees and a combined container throughput of around 3.5 million TEU in 2021. The related logistics services complement the terminal business at five locations in Chile with around 300 employees.

SM SAAM, which expects to realize a net profit of $400 million from the deal, said the acquisition is a recognition of its six decades of work in the sector. The funds will help it to capitalize on opportunities for its remaining tugboat, port and air cargo logistics businesses, which represent the majority of its earnings.

“This agreement will allow us to continue promoting the tugboat business, in which SAAM is already the third player globally thanks to the strategy that we have deployed since 2019,” said Macario Valdés, SAAM General Manager.

Hapag-Lloyd, known best as the world's fifth-largest ocean carrier, has continuously expanded its involvement in the terminal sector in recent years. The company is in the process of acquiring a minority stake in the Italy-based Spinelli Group, recently purchased a stake in JadeWeserPort in Wilhelmshaven, and investing in the construction of Terminal 2 in the Egyptian port of Damietta. Hapag-Lloyd also has a stake in the Altenwerder terminal in Hamburg and in Terminal TC3 of the Moroccan port of Tangier.

Like all large container operators, the company had an impressive run in the frst half of the year, doubling revenue year-on-year to $16.5 billion. The massive increase was attributed to significantly higher freight rates and a stronger US dollar.