South Korean liner operator HMM will launch an extra loader service from Busan to North Europe and is considering a similar move for its Far East Russia service.
HMM CEO Bae Jae-hoon said on 22 January 2021 that the company is planning to deploy an extra service to carry cargoes from Busan to Hamburg and Rotterdam at the end of January, in response to the government’s call for operators to offer more capacity to local shippers.
Bae’s announcement comes a day before one of HMM’s ships, the 4,600TEU Hyundai Forward, departs on one of various extra loader services to Los Angeles.
Since August 2020, HMM has deployed more than one additional vessel per month. Initially, these extra services were for the Transpacific, which first experienced a capacity overload during an extended peak season last year. Containers and capacity shortages, arising from blanked sailings and the slow return of empty boxes to Asia, has since spread to other trade lanes.
HMM said, “Continuous deployment of temporary ships is expected to greatly help domestic shippers. As the main national shipping company, we have a sense of responsibility and will make efforts to help South Korean exporters.”
In response to media reports stating that HMM will send the 5,000TEU Hyundai Platinum on an extra loader service between Busan and the Far East Russian port of Vladivostok, a company spokesperson told Container News that no firm decision has been taken.
Currently, a chartered 1,500TEU ship, AS Riccarda, serves the regular Busan-Vladivostok route.
However, HMM said, “We’re considering how to deal with a backlog of containers on our Russia services. However, any details have yet to be decided at this stage. Also, we do not see demand increasing in that trade lane yet.”