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HMM officials head to Copenhagen for last ditch 2M talks

Senior officials from Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) have jetted off to Copenhagen today for what will be crucial, make or break talks with Maersk and MSC over joining the vessel sharing agreement 2M. HMM will meet with the world’s top two liners in the Danish capital tomorrow, Splash understands, where it will likely find out its fate.

Having been shunned from new container grouping THE Alliance earlier in the year, HMM surprised the container sector by signing an MoU with Maersk and MSC to join 2M next April. However, since the MoU was signed conflicting signals have emerged from all sides, with both Maersk and MSC suggesting HMM’s entrance to 2M is not guaranteed and instead the plan might be to charter some of HMM’s ships, while spokespeople for HMM have repeatedly insisted that joining the vessel sharing agreement is still on the cards.

With a fleet of just 456,000 slots, HMM is deemed too small in today’s rapidly consolidating container sector to continue on its own as a global liner. With Hanjin Shipping falling by the wayside this year, the Korean government has moved to promote HMM as the nation’s flagship carrier but it has repeatedly lost out in bidding for key assets in the firesale emanating in the wake of the collapse of Hanjin. Talk of a massive 20 boxship order has also been mooted as a bargaining chip to chisel entrance into 2M. The line’s future could be decided as early as tomorrow.

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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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