The merger with Chile's Compania Sud Americana de Vapores would create the fourth-argest container shipping firm in the world with annual revenues of about $13 billion, the Journal reported Monday.
The companies are currently working on a memorandum of understanding that would bind them to good-faith negotiations that, in turn, are expected to result in a merger agreement that would close before the end of the first quarter.
"If no major disagreements emerge, we should have [a memorandum of understanding] signed within the next three weeks or so," a person familiar with the talks told the Journal.
The newspaper said the two companies are negotiating over what percentage of shares they will each hold after the deal closes and whether or not CSAV will part with its 50 ships or lease them to Hapag-Lloyd.
CSAV operates 50 ships, while Hapag-Lloyd operates 150, the newspaper said.