HMM Poised to Hit 1M TEU Capacity with New Class of Vessels

HMM containership
HMM will reach the 1 million TEU mark in 2024 (HMM)

Published Jan 24, 2024 8:48 PM by The Maritime Executive


South Korea’s largest carrier, HMM, is set to hit a key mark in its growth strategy even as the company continues to face an uncertain future as the state-controlled banks move forward with the sale of the company. HMM mapped out a growth strategy in 2022 that called for nearly doubling its container capacity while also moving forward with investments in dry bulk and other sectors.

Today the company celebrating the naming of the first of a dozen new vessels that it will take delivery of this year. When the delivery of the new class of 13,000 TEU ships is completed this year, HMM’s fleet capacity is forecast to reach a total of 1 million TEU. 

While the company will remain the eighth-largest carrier according to the ranking by Alphaliner, it represents a nearly 30 percent increase in overall capacity. In addition, HMM management is highlighting the company will be the only global carrier that has more than 80 percent of its fleet with a capacity of over 10,000 TEU for each vessel. They highlight the age and capacity of the ships as it enhances the company’s cost structure and operating efficiency.

HMM was the successor to Hyundai Merchant Marine which fell into financial trouble and was rescued by Korea Development Bank and Korea Ocean Business Corporation. They recently agreed to sell control of the company to Harim Group, a conglomerate that also owns Pan Ocean, a dry bulk carrier.

“We expect our new ships to give us strong environmental credentials and to provide us with the capacity and flexibility in the face of growing competition in the global market,” said Kim, Kyung Bae, President and CEO of HMM at today’s naming ceremony at the HD Hyundai shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea.


Naming ceremony today for the HMM Garnet at HD Hyundai in South Korea (HMM)


The new class of ships will each have a capacity of 13,000 TEU and will be registered in Liberia. They are approximately 139,000 dwt with dimensions of 1,099 feet (335 meters) in length and a beam of 167 feet (51 meters). The first ship of the class is HMM Garnet, and they will bear the names of birthstones from January to December. 

HMM highlights that the ships were ordered in June 2021 with the work split between HD Hyundai and the yard now known as Hanwha Ocean (Daewood Shipbuilding at the time of the order). HMM expects to enhance its environmental capabilities as the ships are being outfitted to be LNG-ready or to possibly use alternative fuels. They also feature advanced energy-saving technologies to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

From this February, HMM Garnet will be deployed on the East Coast 1(EC1) route as part of THE Alliance. The route starts at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and includes Xiamen, Yantian, Shanghai, Ningbo, Busan, and Yantian, all in China before proceeding to New York, Norfolk, Charleston, Savannah, in the United States and a return that includes Singapore.

HMM has a total of 26 containerships on order which will add more than 260,000 TEU capacity. In addition to the 13,000 TEU vessel, they are scheduled to receive three 1,800 TEU containerships this year. The company also ordered nine methanol dual-fuel containerships each with a 9,000 TEU capacity due for delivery in 2025 and 2025 and in 2023 placed orders for car carriers, bulk carriers, and multi-purpose vessels in its diversification strategy.