Giant Chinese owner Coscocs launched in Shanghai

Chairman Xu Lirong inaugurates combined operations of Cosco and China Shipping.

China has officially launched the newly merged operations of Cosco and China Shipping Group.

The Shanghai event to unveil China Cosco Shipping Corporation (Coscocs) was presided over by chairman Lu Xirong, Reuters reported.

He admitted the industry was experiencing its worst downturn since 2008 and said mergers were key to surviving the bad times.

But he said staff had been told there would be no salary cuts or lay-offs.

One China-based executive at a rival shipowner said: "To me they're missing a huge opportunity there to improve their competitiveness."

Coscocs reportedly has 180,000 staff.

"The merger gives them a fighting chance," said Shanghai-based Essence Securities analyst Jiang Ming. "If they didn't merge the status quo would have remained the same."

Cosco’s Hong Kong-listed unit China Cosco Holdings will become the group's container shipping company, taking on China Shipping’s leased boxship assets.

China Shipping Development Co (CSDC) will become the world’s biggest tanker company, while Cos­co Pacific will run terminal operations.