The nation's Vice-Minister for Oceans and Fisheries (MOF) Park Jun-young recently announced that the government will provide a KRW5 trillion (US$4.6 billion) investment in 33 ships by 2025, that will expand HMM's capacity by 250,000 TEU and lift the mainline operators' volumes to Hanjin Shipping's pre-collapse levels.
HMM has taken delivery of a dozen 24,000-TEU ships this year and in the first half of 2021, another eight 16,000-TEU vessels will be delivered.
In addition, to further alleviate the Transpacific shipping capacity crunch, the ministry has directed HMM to provide at least two extra loader services, on top of the single monthly service that has been offered since August, reports London's Container News.
The government is HMM's largest shareholder through state-backed policy lenders Korea Development Bank, Korea Ocean Business Corporation (KOBC) and Korea Credit Guarantee Fund.
With SM Line already offering monthly services from this month, there will be at least three extra loader services. MOF had, in October, stated that around 350 TEU of the extra loader capacity had to be reserved for small and mid-sized shippers, with this benefit to last up to this month. However, Mr Park said that this benefit will now be extended to the end of January 2021.
KOBC will also offer ships to local ship operators on an operating lease to ensure that shipping capacity can be secured if cargo volumes suddenly increase. Unlike finance leases, operating leases do not oblige lessors to purchase the vessels when the lease ends.