Multiple sources in South Korea are now reporting that Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) will very shortly put pen to paper for a string of giant boxships. Sources within the government have let it been known funds are being made available to let HMM order twelve 22,000 teu ships and eight 13,000 teu ones on home soil. The orders are expected next month. The orders would double the size of the HMM owned fleet to more than 700,000 teu.
With the demise of Hanjin Shipping and the dramatic consolidation seen in the liner sector over the last three years, the giant ship order, backed by state cash, is a tacit admission from Seoul that it wants to continue to have a Korean owned carrier on the global box trades.
In a new year’s address to employees last month Yoo Chang-Keun laid down plans to double the size of HMM’s fleet by 2022.
Detailing how HMM had come through restructuring and saw growth in 2017, Yoo stated: “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.”
Last year HMM ordered five VLCCs and two 11,000 teu boxships. It also saw its annual teu handling jump from 3m teu to 4m teu.
Yoo, in his address, also said HMM was looking at ordering dry bulk ships.
“[T]he dry bulk sector should revamp the tonnages to be more competitive as the old chartered tonnages are being returned to owners, and in addition, we should exert great effort to reestablish relationships with customers in preparation for better market conditions,” Yoo said.