Saturday, August 23, 2008

NOL to Retain Hapag-Lloyd Brand & Staff

The new head of Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), Mr Ron Widdows, has promised that he will retain the staff and the brand name of Hapag-Lloyd should his bid for the fifth biggest container line succeed, Exim News Service reports.

Mr Widdows, who was till recently the head of NOL’s container arm, APL, said that Hapag-Lloyd staff should look on the bright side, recalling how he had prospered when NOL had taken over his company, the California-based American President Lines (APL), in 1997.

"I’m a personal example of how you can put two companies together and take advantage of the strength of what is inside those organisations", said Mr Widdows.

"The fact is that if APL had not been acquired by NOL, it would not exist today", he admitted as NOL battles it out with Hamburg Solution, an all-German group determined to keep the shipping line in Germany.

Telling his own story, Mr Widdows said, "APL was acquired by a foreign company, as a company, and at the time, it had a 150-year history and had many of the same emotions and concerns on the part of the people that worked for APL in terms of being acquired by a foreign company. Not only did the brand survive, but most of the organisation".

The fact that NOL is 66 per cent owned by Singapore state investor, Temasek Holdings, has added to the controversy in Germany, according to reports.

On August 19, nearly 300 Hapag-Lloyd workers protested outside the German Embassy here against the possible deal, a day before the Cabinet was due to pass a law to shield domestic firms from foreign buyers.

Source : TransportWeekly-22 August 2008