CORRECTED-CMA CGM sees consolidation opportunities in wake of Hanjin collapse

(Corrects spelling of surname in final paragraph)

ABIDJAN, Sept 20 (Reuters) - CMA CGM will look at opportunities in container shipping triggered by the collapse of South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, the French group’s vice chairman said on Tuesday.

Hanjin, the world’s seventh largest container line, filed for receivership last month, leaving more than 100 ships and their cargo at sea.

“With the collapse of Hanjin, there will be a wave of consolidation in the sector and CMA CGM is on the look out for opportunities if they should arise,” Rodolphe Saade told journalists.

“We think that small or medium sized operators are going to go bust or be forced to join large operators like us,” he said.

Family owned CMA CGM has reinforced its position as the third largest container line through its acquisition this year of Singapore-based Neptune Orient Lines, which has given it market leadership on trans-Pacific routes.

China’s Cosco told Reuters on Monday that Hanjin’s demise had shifted demand to other lines and could help freight rates to recover in 2017.

CMA CGM and Cosco are planning with other partners to launch a new vessel-sharing alliance next year to cope with oversupply of ships and faltering economic growth.

Saade, speaking at the launch of a training programme for African managers, said CMA CGM had made it a priority to expand in the continent which currently accounts for 15 percent of its sales.

The group was developing well in West and East Africa, with the exception of Nigeria and Angola where weak oil prices have hurt shipping business, said Bertrand Simion, head of CMA CGM’s African lines. (Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Gus Trompiz; Editing by Bate Felix/Ruth Pitchford)