US-based container lessors CAI International and Beacon Intermodal Leasing have come under the same ownership, after Japanese leasing group Mitsubishi HC Capital acquired CAI for US$1.1 billion on 18 June.
Mitsubishi HC Capital was formed from the merger of Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance and Hitachi Capital on 1 April. Beacon Intermodal was acquired in 2014 by Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance, marking the company's entry into the container leasing market.
The increased container demand has led Mitsubishi HC Capital to the latest acquisition with the company saying, "Marine transportation is strongly tied between key infrastructure for livelihood and industry activities, indicating that containers used for marine transportation are expected to benefit from stable demands in the leasing market."
The Covid-19 pandemic has driven demand for container shipping as lockdowns drive more consumers to purchase goods through e-commerce and medical supplies are shipped globally, while the slow return of empty containers has exacerbated the situation.
The ratio of leased containers to total global boxes has increased in the past 10 years from 41% in 2009 to 51% in 2019, according to a survey conducted by Drewry, and is continuing to grow steadily.
"The marine container leasing business is expected to bring stable growth as an indispensable infrastructure of global trade, and is envisioned to be a leading force of the logistic business domain in the future," added Mitsubishi HC Capital.
CAI and Beacon Intermodal are the fifth and sixth largest container lessors, boosting fleets of 1.75 million TEU and 1.52 million TEU, respectively. CAI expands to 12 countries with 13 business locations and has contracts with 180 container depots in 39 countries worldwide.
"A key to enhancing container leasing competitiveness is to strengthen our global platform of container depots, to which containers are returned and taken for repair work, and sites for marketing and operation," commented Mitsubishi HC Capital.