Shipbuilding remains a core national industry for South Korea and the country’s shipping sector is a key supporter of its shipyards, with container shipping line HMM one of the biggest, as the yards support HMM’s aggressive expansion plan, to more than double vessel capacity.
HMM’s vessel building programme, which is one of the largest in the industry, kicked off last week with the christening of the world’s largest containership – the 24,000 teu HMM Algeciras, the first of a series of 12 x 24,000 TEU-class mega-vessels that are due to be delivered by the end of September 2020.
With the shipping line departing the 2M alliance, ‘HMM Algeciras’ will be deployed on Far East Europe 4 (FE4) service, one of the Asia-North Europe trade lanes of THE Alliance, with its port rotation starting at Qingdao, Busan, Ningbo, Shanghai, Yantian, Suez Canal, Rotterdam, Hamburg, Antwerp, London Gateway, then Singapore.
HMM Algeciras departed Yantian, China on 8 May, 2020 with 19,621 TEUs loaded on board (a claimed world record) and its next scheduled port will be Rotterdam, with two more calls, before its inaugural London Gateway visit.
However, it is being speculated that HMM Algeciras’ first sailing could also be its last, at least for a while, as the demand slump in North Europe for containerised goods, due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, has led The Alliance partners to merge the FE4 and FE2 strings.
”We work closely with all our customers, to keep them informed and up to date with developments, leveraging volume contracts and shipping line relationships to get cargo lifted”
In unfortunate timing, HMM is set to go through its largest-ever capacity expansion in the midst of the coronavirus’ economic storm, which is forecast result in the largest ever drop in demand for sea freight.
Eight 16,000 teu vessels also under construction in South Korean yards which are scheduled for delivery by the end of the first half of 2021, and will take its fleet capacity up to 850,000 teu – its current fleet capacity is 475,000 teu.
To try and mitigate some of the most severe impacts, HMM has managed to defer the delivery of six of units, although reports suggest that deferral will last no longer than the end of the year.
Metro will continue to update the latest carrier vessel cancelations and changes to schedules on a regular basis, so that we can agree best fit service and transits.