03rd jan 2018
In a New Years’ message, Hyundai Merchant Marine CEO Yoo Chang-Keun said that the world’s number 13 carrier should look to double its capacity by 2022.
“I am convinced that [recent] 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,” Yoo said. “After several years of hardship, we are finally about to grasp the precious opportunity for rebound.”
HMM narrowly avoided receivership in 2016, but thanks to significant government support it has recovered and is expanding its investments in tonnage. At a company meeting in December, Yoo said that the firm would be joining the ranks of CMA CGM and MSC by ordering an unspecified number of 22,000 TEU container ships, the largest vessels of their kind. He explained the purchase in terms of national ambition. “This will be the mega-ship building project in accordance with the national expectation for being a leading shipping nation,” he said. “I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to people of Korea for supporting HMM.”
That support was essential to its recovery, and it will be essential to its expansion as well: South Korea is set to establish a new government-backed financier to support and promote its maritime industry. The new Korea Maritime Corporation (KMC) will launch next summer with an initial capital fund of about $3 billion, including a significant government allocation. This will allow KMC to issue bonds of up to $11.5 billion, and more if it increases its capitalization. Business Korea says that together, KMC and HMM intend to spend about $2.8 billion on 20 container ships – nine over 20,000 TEU and 11 over 13,000 TEU – which would double the line’s capacity and move it up the ranks of the global carriers by about six places. The order would be in addition to a previously announced agreement for two 11,000 TEU container vessels.