South Korea’s largest carrier, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM), will start ordering vessels of 22,000 TEU capacity at the beginning next month (March 2018) at the earliest, according to South Korean media reports.
The Korean government is announcing a five-year plan at the end of February 2018 that will allocate US$10 billion in funds towards the ordering of 50 vessels, with around 20 of the largest — 12 12,000-TEU vessels and eight 13,000-TEU vessels — joining HMM’s fleet, according to information from Business Korea.
A new corporation will be set up to focus on expanding HMM into a container shipping company that can fill the gap left by Hanjin Shipping, once the biggest carrier in the country and the seventh largest globally, after it officially ceased operations last year.
He said: “I am convinced that these achievements have laid a solid foundation for our long-term plan where we continue to consider ways of doubling our vessel capacity by 2022 including the launching of mega containerships as we deem the environmental regulations in 2020 as a golden opportunity for our resurgence.”
The new order of 22,000 TEU vessels is likely to be a catalyst for HMM establishing a new European route as part of its plans to become a major global player.
In an announcement this month, HMM said that it had launched joint services between Asia and west coast of South America by forming a consortium with carriers MSC, Hapag-Lloyd, and ONE.
At the end of last year, South Korean media revealed that the country’s carriers would form into one as part of a recovery plan, but shipping analysts from Alphaliner said that it would not be enough to support the country against global consolidation in the shipping sector.