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Intense intra-Asia competition as carriers launch more SE Asia services

In another sign of growing intra-Asia container trades, South Korea's Incheon port has a new link with South-East Asia, through a new services offering regional links.

Intense competition in the East Asia-South East Asia trades is growing, a point noted by South Korea’s Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Moon Seong-hyeok when he launched an enhanced five-year plan to revive the shipping industry on 12 August.

That competition has intensified with the launch by Heung-A of a new service connecting Incheon to Hai Phong, Vietnam, while Cheng Lie Navigation (CNC Line), CMA CGM's intra-Asia unit, will link to Thailand and the Philippines.

On 20 August Heung-A Line, a Sinokor subsidiary, opened the Incheon-Vietnam Hai Phong 2 (IHP2) service by deploying two 1,000TEU vessels. The weekly service rotation is Busan-Incheon-Hong Kong-Haiphong-Hong Kong-Busan. The first vessel, Lantau Bridge, arrived at the Hanjin Incheon Container Terminal (HJIT) on 24 August.

Also on 20 August, CNC Line launched its China-Thailand Philippines (CSECP2) service at Incheon Port. The operator has deployed five 1,700TEU ships and one 1,900TEU ship, calling at Incheon-Shanghai-Ningbo-Laem Chabang-Bangkok-Laem Chabang-Manila-Hong Kong-Shekou-Batangas-Cebu-Cagayan de Oro-Davao-Shekou-Hong Kong-Incheon.

The service began with CNC Line’s chartered vessel, Mount Nicholson, loading in Incheon New Port Sunkwangshin Container Terminal (SNCT).

Incheon Port Authority (IPA) said the number of container services calling at Incheon is now 62, including ro-ro cargo ships.

Lee Jeong-haeng, IPA’s vice-president of operations, said, "The increase in Southeast Asian services will increase the competitiveness of Incheon Port and broaden the choice of shippers and forwarders in the metropolitan area."

IPA has been promoting Incheon Port as a gateway into the metropolitan Seoul area. Increasing trade flows to South East Asia saw Maersk Line’s regional unit Sealand launch a related service in February.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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