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Macquarie Sells Ceres Terminals to Owner of SSA Marine

Ceres sold in terminal operation consolidation
Ceres has expanded its stevedoring and terminal operations in North America (file photo)

Published Jun 26, 2023 7:00 PM by The Maritime Executive

The consolidation of terminal operators continues with news that Australia’s asset management firm Macquarie Asset Management has reached terms for the sale of Ceres Terminals, an operator of 18 locations in the United States and Canada. The investment arm of the Australian finance company has reportedly been shopping the terminal operator as it looks to wind down one of its infrastructure investment funds.

Ceres is being acquired by U.S.-based Carrix, an operator of terminals and related assets primarily through its SSA Marine subsidiary. Terms of the deal were not announced, but in May 2023, The Wall Street Journal reported that Macquarie was looking for about $1 billion for Ceres.  The company, which has operations throughout North America, including California, Houston, Montreal, Vancouver, B.C., and throughout the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coast regions, will be combined with SSA Marine which operates at locations around the world.

“We are excited to expand SSA Marine’s footprint further into the rapidly growing Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions of the United States,” said Uffe Ostergaard, President & CEO of Carrix. “Ceres has built an attractive portfolio of container, cruise, and general cargo operations and customer relationships which will enable us to serve our combined customers in more locations with more services.”

Ceres has grown aggressively in the past few years expanding its stevedoring operations to include a portfolio of terminal concessions that provide on-dock logistics services for shipping containers, roll-on roll-off cargo, breakbulk cargo, and cruise passengers. The company reports it handles 4.3 million TEU lifts, 13.4 million cruise passengers, and 580,000 Ro-Ro units each year.

The company which was founded in 1958 had been acquired by Japan’s Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK Line) in 2002. Macquarie Infrastructure Partners acquired an initial stake in 2015 and took full ownership in 2015. According to The Wall Street Journal report, Macquarie is looking to wind down an investment fund over the next 12 months leading to the decision to sell the  investment in the terminal operations held by that fund.

Macquarie which focused on infrastructure, green investments, real estate, agriculture, and natural assets, continues to be active with investments in terminals while also adjusting some of its positions, A spokesperson confirms the sale of Ceres is related to the winding down of the Macquarie Infrastructure Partners III fund. Previously, the investment firm along with partner NYK in December 2022 agreed to sell Yusen Terminals which operates in the Port of Los Angeles to Ocean Network Express (ONE) along with TraPac which operates in both Los Angeles and Oakland, California. In 2019, Macquarie also sold two North American terminals to Singapore’s PSA International.

Currently, in the Americas region, Macquarie has investments in Maher Terminals, Long Beach Container Terminals, ITS in Long Beach and Tacoma, and Brazilian port terminal operator CLI. In addition, Ceres Terminals Jacksonville, will not be part of the new deal and will remain owned by Macquarie.

Carrix is the parent company of SSA Marine and its affiliates with combined operations at over 250 port and rail locations worldwide, including 18 container terminals in Long Beach, Oakland, Seattle, Tacoma, Jacksonville, Panama, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, and Vietnam. SSA Marine also operates cruise, auto, and other conventional terminals throughout the United States and Canada.