South Korea’s Samra Midas (SM) Group is working to join the home-grown shipping alliance among country’s largest cargo carrier Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. and smaller local rivals running short-haul routes around Asia.
SM Shipping (a new container line created by Samra after it completes acquisition of Asia-North America shipping route of Hanjin Shipping, the country’s former largest shipper) has strong intention to join the consortium and is in discussion with maritime authorities about joining the group before it is officially launched, said Kim Chil-bong, president of SM Group’s bulk carrier unit Korea Line Corp. and also the director of the group’s container carrier division in an interview with the Maeil Business Newspaper on Wednesday.
Dubbed as HMM+ 2K brings together HMM under management of state creditors and intra-Asia shippers Sinokor Merchant Marine Co., and Heung-a Shipping Co. to become the first kind of alliance among domestic liners with initial partnership involving vessel sharing and long-term investment in infrastructure.
The fledgling group is open to new membership, an unnamed official of the preparatory group said. Last year, the three shippers handled 3.73 million twenty-equivalent (TEU) units of cargoes on the intra-Asian routes and they expect 20 percent jump in their capacity this year through alliance.
SM Group that runs bulk carrier Korea Line Corp. would launch a container line operator this week after completing payment to the bankruptcy court for assets of Hanjin Shipping.
Its new container liner plans to be equipped with a fleet of 11 containerships of 6,500-TEU capacity and 10 smaller vessels with below-4,000-TEU capacity within the month.
SM Shipping would become the second largest container carrier with 110,000 TEU capacity after HMM with 455,000 TEU capacity. Sinokor Merchant Marine and Heung-a Shipping have cargo carrying capacity of 48,000-TEU and 38,000-TEU, respectively.
The group also plans to start a ship rental service by purchasing second-hand vessels on top of adding the new container carriers, said SM Group Chairman Woo Oh-hyun.
By Kim Jung-hwan
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]