Korea Marine Transport Company (KMTC Line) has yielded to government calls for liner operators to provide more shipping capacity.
The South Korean feeder operator is deploying additional vessels to its intra-Asia services to meet demand from compatriot South Korean shippers.
KMTC Line announced on 16 November 2020 that the previous day, the 2,800TEU KMTC Xiamen had set out from Busan, bound for Malaysia.
On 17 December the 2,800TEU KMTC Penang, currently deployed on the China-Taiwan-Japan service, will be re-assigned to carry cargoes from South Korea to Indonesia.
On 11 November, South Korea’s Minister for Oceans and Fisheries, Moon Seong-hyeok, met with the presidents of the country’s 14 liner operators, urging them to c ollaborate to resolve the lack of capacity for local shippers, particularly small and medium enterprises.
HMM, the country’s largest carrier, has already extended its extra loader service to February 2021 after meeting with shipper organisations in late September. But further pressure from government has seen SM Line Corporation, the other Korean Transpacific carrier, launch an extra loader service, deploying a 3,000TEU vessel for one sailing each in December and January 2021.
KMTC Line said that it is working to support shippers at the government’s request and will continue to review the need for extra loader services.
Freight rates on various trade lanes have soared as container carriers trimmed capacity amid economic uncertainties wrought by Covid-19. Transpacific rates, especially, have hit levels not seen since 2009, causing governments in South Korea, China and the US, to step in.
The slow return of empties the US to Asia, due to delays at US ports and the shift of equipment into the Pacific trades has been blamed for the lack of Asian origin boxes on many trades.