Germany's MPC Capital is teaming up with Wilhelmsen Ship Management to manage containerships.

The move takes the form of an equal joint venture between Singapore-based Wilhelmsen and Ahrenkiel Steamship, the technical shipmanagement subsidiary of MPC Capital.

The shipmanagement arm of Wilh Wilhelmsen Holding will acquire 50% of Ahrenkiel for an undisclosed price.

The new outfit will operate as Wilhelmsen Ahrenkiel Ship Management and focus on the technical management of feeder containerships.

It will manage a fleet of 72 containerships of between 1,000 teu and 3,000 teu that will continue to operate from its existing bases in Hamburg and Rhoon in the Netherlands.

Most of the vessels are understood to belong to the fleet of Oslo-listed MPC Container Ships.

Michael Silies, who has headed Ahrenkiel Steamship since 2015, remains as managing director of the operation.

Jan-Eric Panitzki will oversee the operational side.

The move marks another development for the Ahrenkiel brand, which is one of the better-known German shipping names.

Ahrenkiel Steamship was formed in April 2014 through the integration of the Hamburg shipping companies Thien & Heyenga, MPC Steamship and the CF Ahrenkiel Group.

MPC Capital acquired 100% of the company in 2016, buying shares from GB Shipping & Chartering, formerly part of Leer-based owner Reederei Buss.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management chief executive and president Carl Schou said the partnership with MPC would strengthen his company's presence in Germany.

"We believe Ahrenkiel Steamship is a good fit as we share many common values," he said.

'Strong partner'

The partners have ambitious goals to use digital technology to enhance and improve the operations, he said.

"We are looking forward to develop a strong track record together in the container segment through this partnership," he said.

MPC Capital managing director Christian Rychly described Wilhelmsen as "a strong partner with whom we can consistently expand our shipping activities".

"We want to offer the best services to our clients, and Wilhelmsen's network and expertise in other shipping segments will improve our position in the container segment," he said.

Wilhelmsen Ship Management has a portfolio of more than 450 vessels and 9,200 active seafarers.

It manages vessels from six offices worldwide and has a crewing network of 16 manning offices in 12 countries.

The closing of the transaction is subject to approval by the relevant antitrust authorities.