Sinokor and Heung-A agree to merge container operations

Days ahead Japan’s big three lines merging their container shipping operations, there’s news breaking from neighbouring South Korea where two well known intra-Asia operators are joining forces.

Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung-A Shipping have agreed to merge their container shipping services by next year to rationalise operations ahead of joining up with compatriot Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM). Sinokor and Heung-A will officially sign the merger deal next Tuesday, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Korea Shipowners’ Association.

HMM, Heung-A Shipping and Sinokor signed a memorandum of understanding last year to form the HMM + K2 consortium on the intra-Asia trades.

The Korean government has been trying to consolidate the local shipping scene in the wake of the high profile bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping.

Sinokor and Heung-A will create a joint office next month to work on integrating their services with a view to completing the task by late next year.

Both shipping lines have non-box related businesses such as tankers which will remain separate from this container merger.

The two companies control around 100,000 teu in capacity with Sinokor ranked as the world’s 25th largest liner with 54,000 slots and Heung-A ranked 29th with 46,000 slots, according to Alphaliner. Combined they’d lie just outside the top 20 league.

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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