HMM Orders 12 Boxships as Korea Targets Doubling Container Shipping

HMM orders dozen containerships
HMM Nuri was the first of the eight 16,000 TEU boxships delivered to HMM in 2021 (HMM)

Published Jun 29, 2021 12:53 PM by The Maritime Executive

South Korea’s shipping company HMM announced its next growth phase with an additional large order for containerships as the company completed delivery of its twentieth new ship in the past two years. The effort comes with the full support of the Korean government, which announced goals to double the country’s container shipping by 2030.

HMM signed its new building contracts splitting the order for 12 new 13,000 TEU containerships between Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI). The total cost was reported to be $1.57 billion, with Hyundai reporting its portion at $788 million and DSME at $782 million. All ships will be installed with hybrid scrubbers and designed to be LNG-ready. Delivery of the 12 vessels is scheduled for the first half of 2024.

“Our newly ordered containerships will be fitted with the latest energy-efficient technologies,” wrote HMM in the official announcement. “We expect these ships to give us strong environmental credentials, as well as to provide us with the capacity and flexibility to get our customers’ cargo to the right place at the right time.”

Ranked as the eight larger carrier by Alphaliner, HMM is in the midst of a government-supported expansion. The company is targeting a capacity of one million TEU by 2022 through new construction and charters. With its newest deliveries, the company is nearing a capacity of approximately 9000,000 TEU up from 720,000 TEU in 2020.

The announcement of the new order came as the company was also marking the entry into service of the 160,927 DWT HMM Hanul, the last of eight 16,000 TEU containerships built for by Hyundai Heavy Industries Ulsan Shipyard. This class of ships measures 1,200 feet in length, making it according to HMM the largest class of vessel able to transit both the Suez and Panama Canal. They operate at a speed of 22 knots fully loaded with a crew of 22.

The eight ships, which were built as part of the government’s Five Year Plan for the Reconstruction of Shipping, are all being placed on the line’s European route. In 2018, with a reported $5 billion in funding support from the state, HMM ordered this class along with a dozen of the world’s largest boxships each with a capacity of 24,000 TEU built at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Samsung Heavy Industries. Korea’s Ocean Ministry will also help HMM with the 12 additional containerships.

During the event celebrating the entry of the HMM Hanul into service, South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced goals to reach a total capacity of 1.5 million TEU by 2030 along with nearly doubling revenues from the country's marine shipping sector. To support the initiative, Moon said that the Korea Ocean Business Corp. and the three state-run financial institutions, Korea Development Bank, Export-Import Bank of Korea, and Korea Asset Management Corp., will create a new $300 million fund to support low-emissions shipbuilding.