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HMM completes charter negotiations, readies boxship orders

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) today announced that the company has reached a de facto agreement regarding its charter negotiations with foreign shipowners, a key huddle for creditors watching the Korean line’s restructuring.

According to HMM, five containership owners have recently agreed to adjust charters by 20%, while bulk ship owners are also “expressing their willingness to agree” with a 25% cut, the line said in a release. HMM added that the company plans completing the signing of its contracts with all shipowners this June. Speculation had been that creditors had been demanding cuts of between 28% to 30%, however HMM claims the negotiations are a success. Lead creditor Korea Development Bank appeared happy with the levels HMM had negotiated, commending the line in a separate release today.

“The normalization of HMM will especially be recognized as a successful case of unprecedented attempt in restructuring that cannot be found in anywhere in the world,” HMM said in a release today.

HMM said its restructuring was now complete and it would pursue a series of mega boxship orders as well as pursuing access to new container grouping, THE Alliance.

“HMM is now expected to join the new alliance soon as the company’s business normalization is on the horizon. To achieve this, HMM is closely discussing the matter with other members of THE Alliance,” it said today.

“KDB will provide full support so HMM can promptly join THE Alliance,” HMM’s lead creditor said today.

KDB said it would support HMM’s mega boxship plans. “KDB will take all necessary measures to make HMM a competitive global shipping company through reshuffling its organization structure and inviting outside experts to consult on restructuring the fleet by ordering new mega and high efficiency ships to boost HMM’s mid-term competitiveness,” the bank said today.

A key member of THE Alliance, Hanjin Shipping, is now midway through similar charter renegotiations.

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Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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