Hyundai Merchant Marine yesterday issued a statement to the Korea Exchange dismissing reports that it would merge with fellow Korean line, Hanjin Shipping. The Korea Economic News reported yesterday that the government was pushing for the two companies, South Korea’s largest shipping lines, to merge.
HMM quickly fired back. “With regards to the report in Korea Economic News, the company has not received any such request from the government.”
Both companies have reported significant losses in recent years.
The government in Seoul has been talking about greater consolidation in the nation’s maritime space a great deal of late, especially among its shipyards, but it has also hinted at the need for scale among shipping lines.
Speaking earlier this month at the Danish Maritime Forum in Copenhagen South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries said smaller and mid-sized container shipping lines could become extinct, just like the dinosaurs. Yoo Kijune said the rush to order ever larger boxships had brought overtonnaging and made it hard for many to operate. The leading container companies will drive out small and mid-sized ones, he said.
Across the Yellow Sea from South Korea, China is pushing ahead with a giant merger of its two largest lines, Cosco and China Shipping, with details of this mega merger due very soon.