The odds of a merger between China National Foreign Trade Transportation (Group) Corp, or Sinotrans, and China Changjiang National Shipping are greater than 50 per cent, said a senior manager of Sinotrans Limited yesterday. 'Both companies have the desire to merge, echoing Beijing's decision to streamline the number of major state-owned companies to 100 from 150 in several years time,' said Zhang Jianwei, executive director of Sinotrans Limited, a unit of Sinotrans. The idea of a restructuring among the five state-owned shipping companies - Cosco Group, China Shipping, Sinotrans, Changjiang and China Merchants Group - has been circulating for almost two years. Sinotrans and Changjiang have emerged as the likely candidates. Previous suggestions that China Merchants might merge with Sinotrans did not materialise because the companies never came to terms. The merger of Sinotrans and Changjiang would have a better chance of succeeding because they complemented each other, Mr Zhang said. Changjiang specialised in Yangtze River transport and tanker service, while Sinotrans was strong in logistics and coastal transport. Roslyn Ji Yongdi, a transport analyst for Core Pacific-Yamaichi, said the impact of the planned merger on the two listed Sinotrans subsidiaries - Sinotrans Shipping and Sinotrans Limited - remained unclear.