Shippers boosting Pacific Lines after Hanjin fall


Foreign shipping lines are increasing their transpacific routes after Korea’s largest shipper, Hanjin Shipping, filed for court receivership last month.

The world’s largest shipper, Maersk Line, said Wednesday it is introducing a new service between Asia and the United States West Coast to fill the capacity gap left by Hanjin Shipping and complement its existing ships on the transpacific route.

The route includes Yantian, Shanghai, Busan, Los Angeles and Long Beach as a part of the 2M shipping alliance network, and its first sailing is scheduled for Sep. 15. The company plans to deploy six container vessels with a capacity of 4,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) a week.

“We are responding to increased demand in the transpacific,” said Klaus Rud Sejling, head of Maersk Line’s East-West Network. “With supply chains disrupted, many customers are approaching us for transport solutions for their cargo. The service is a stable, long-term solution to meet our customers’ needs.”

The world’s fourth-largest shipper, COSCO Line, has decided to deploy its container ships to Korea’s Busan Port while China’s largest shipping line, Yang Ming Marine Transport, has recently included the port in its transpacific operations.

Experts said Hanjin Shipping’s court receivership is an opportunity for global shipping lines that have long competed in a game of chicken with low-price strategies.

“Now, Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is the nation’s only major shipping line operating its service on the transpacific route,” an industry insider said.

“Korea is an export-driven economy that requires massive shipping services to the global market. I don’t think HMM’s shipping capacity can solely cover such transport demands. If Maersk Line decides to replace Hanjin Shipping’s absence in earnest, HMM won’t stand a chance maintaining its service grounds in the transpacific route. If that comes to pass, Korea’s exports would depend heavily on the service of foreign shipping lines.”

Most of the container ships operated by Hanjin Shipping have reportedly stopped sailing at home and abroad.

Its container ships have reportedly been denied entry to the Busan port since the troubled company’s court receivership was filed last month. Another of the shipper’s container ships, Hanjin Roma, was seized in Singapore soon after creditors announced they would stop supporting Hanjin Shipping.

Another container ship, Hanjin Mexico, has stopped operation because the ship owner, PIL, refused to allow it to sail due to overdue charter fees from the shipping line.

Hanjin Shipping also filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States to stop creditors seizing its assets.

Source: Korea Times

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