German shipping group Hapag-Lloyd has completed its merger with United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), making the organisation the fifth largest liner shipping company in the world.

The merger was announced in July, and has been finalised following the approval of various global competition authorities.

Changes in the corporate legal structure were also made and the consent of several banks was obtained before the merger.

The combined entity will have a fleet comprising 230 vessels, as well as a shared fleet capacity of around 1.6 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU).

Hapag-Lloyd CEO Rolf Jansen said: “This is an important strategic milestone and a big step forward for Hapag-Lloyd.

“We now not only have a very strong market position in Latin America and the Atlantic, but also in the Middle East, where we will become one of the leading carriers.

"We now not only have a very strong market position in Latin America and the Atlantic, but also in the Middle East."

“Our priority now is a smooth and fast integration of UASC and Hapag-Lloyd.”

Hapag-Lloyd will remain a publicly traded company registered in Germany following the merger, with its headquarters based in Hamburg.

Qatar Investment Authority and Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (PIF) are currently UASC’s two majority shareholders, and are now set to become new key shareholders of Hapag-Lloyd.

UASC’s other shareholders, including Kuwait Investment Authority, Iraqi Fund for External Development (IFED), United Arab Emirates and Bahrain’s participation will be reflected with a combined 3.6% stake in Hapag-Lloyd in the form of free float shares.

Additionally, UASC's current transport volume will be handled on Hapag-Lloyd's IT platform upon full completion of the integration, thereby allowing the combined entity to carry an estimated annual transport volume in excess of ten million TEU.

Hapag-Lloyd will also establish a new regional headquarters for the Middle East region.