Shipping giant Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is reportedly preparing to acquire AlisCargo Airlines in order to bolster the MSC Air Cargo operation, as originally reported by the Italian paper Corriere della Sera.

Founded in 2021, Italian intercontinental cargo airline AlisCargo has confirmed that MSC, which was founded in Italy but is now headquartered in Switzerland, has begun negotiations.

“AlisCargo can confirm that the negotiations with MSC Group are ongoing,” AlisCargo said in a statement.

“At the moment, it’s not possible to provide further information until the discussions with the counterpart and the authorisations of the competent bodies will have been successful.”

AlisCargo’s strategy on launch was to use ‘preighters’, passenger planes that have been retrofitted for freight operations. But in 2022, EASA updated the regulations surrounding the use of preighters, causing AlisCargo to pivot its operations away to conventional freight aircraft.

Airport Technology has contacted MSC for comment, but the shipping giant has yet to respond.

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According to reports, MSC looks to be going on a spending spree of late, with Bloomberg reporting that the shipping company is also eyeing up a 49% stake in Italian national rail operator Ferrovie dello Stato subsidiary Tx Logistic, a Germany-based company operating rail freight logistics, road rail logistic,s and ocean rail logistics services.

Last week, reports also emerged that MSC is seriously considering acquiring open-access rail operator Italo for around €4bn ($4.4 billion).