Extra loader Transpacific services are being extended by South Korean operator HMM, while Japanese carrier Ocean Network Express (ONE) will also deploy tonnage in an effort to support regional exports.
HMM has been offering Korean shippers a monthly extra loader service since August while ONE will add a similar service for Japanese customers this month.
HMM began its extra loader service between Busan and Los Angeles, in August, to meet demand from local shippers during the traditional peak season. The company has now said it will extend the service until February 2021, following an agreement with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries, Ministry of SMEs and Ventures, Korea Shipowners' Association and Korea SMEs and Startups Agency, on 29 October 2020.
That agreement followed a meeting organised by Korea International Trade Association between liner operators and South Korean shippers on 28 September 2020.
An HMM spokesman told Container News that given the unexpected recent surge in demand on the Transpacific trades, South Korean shippers are experiencing difficulties with shipping costs, which have reached 10-year highs, caused by reduced capacity resulting from blanked sailings, the rising rates have also come to the attention of the US, Chinese and South Korean authorities.
He added, “HMM’s extra loader services are mainly targeting the small and medium-sized shippers in Korea. The services are expected to be deployed once a month until February next year on a provisional basis, but it is subject to change based on market situations and our fleet management plan.”
The spokesman could not disclose the ship names and sizes, as these details are still being worked out.
HMM CEO Bae Jae-hoon noted that normally, more than 60% of the containers on the company’s ships are from multi-national corporations. However, 60% of the cargoes in the last three “extra loader” services were booked by SMEs.
Meanwhile, ONE, a THE Alliance partner to HMM, is supporting Japanese exporters who also face high shipping costs, by launching an extra loader out of Japan on 12 November, deploying ONE’s 4,250TEU Brevik Bridge calling at Busan-Tokyo-Tacoma-Los Angeles.
ONE said that it decided to have the extra service to provide a stable transportation service as many Japanese shippers have been unable to obtain shipping slots due to peak demand ahead of the Black Friday shopping event and Christmas.