South Korean feeder operators Korea Marine Transport Co., Ltd (KMTC Line) and Namsung Shipping have revamped their joint pendulum service covering South Korea, China and northern Japan. The two companies said on 23 January 2020 that they have reorganised their North China-Hokkaido (NCH) service, including Sendai and Hitachinaka while excluding Kushiro.
The service loop will be Busan New Port-Busan North Port-Ulsan-Gwangyang-Qingdao-Busan North Port-Ishikari-Hakodate-Tomakomai-Hachinohe-Sendai-Hitachinaka-Busan New Port.
Namsung has been operating services to Hitachinaka for several years while KMTC Line has been more or less the only provider of services to Ishikari.
With the new NCH service, Namsung will enter the market for shipments to and from Ishikari.
The NCH service originally commenced in October 2018, with KMTC Line deploying two ships and Namsung deploying one vessel.
KMTC Line said that the reorganisation of the NCH route began gradually this month, with its ship Sunny Laurel departing Busan New Port on 9 January and arriving in Sendai on 17 January.
Calls to Sendai and Hitachinaka are being gradually increased to five and four weekly sailings, respectively, while calls to Kushiro will be phased out in due course. Kushiro calls have already been cut by four to three.
Currently, KMTC Line and Namsung are operating a total of five routes between South Korea, China, and Japan, including NCH, the New Bohai Pendulum (NBP) and the New Shanghai Pendulum (NSP) services.
KMTC Line said: “We are in the process of rationalising the South Korea-China-Japan pendulum route, which is jointly operated with Namsung Shipping, with the goal of finalisation in March.”