Korean shipping companies are deploying larger ships that can navigate the newly expanded Panama Canal which is set to open a new era in global trade.
Deploying bigger vessels is expected to improve the indebted ship liners’ profitability as they can enhance their price competitiveness.
Hyundai Merchant Marine plans to deploy five units of 10,000 twenty-foot equivalent containerships on the route called NYX, focusing on coverage between Central and North China and Korea to the United States East Coast.
The route is launched by the G6 Alliance which Hyundai Merchant is a part of. The larger vessels will replace six 4,600 TEU containerships operated by Hyundai Merchant.
As the canal was inaugurated on June 26, Hanjin Shipping also upgraded the size of its ships from 4,000 to 6,500 TEU. A total of 10 units were deployed on its All Water Hanjin line launched by the Korean firm.
In addition, Hanjin Shipping started to run two 9,000 TEU vessels on the trade lane, jointly operated by its global alliance CKYHE members.
Shipping volumes through the canal stalled in the mid-2000s, after rising earlier in the decade on increased Chinese trade, as vessels became too large to traverse the waterway.
The expansion allows the new locks to handle ships ferrying 13,000 cargo containers while the original canal which opened in 1914 could accommodate ships carrying some 5,500 containers.
The Panama Canal officials said the expansion was necessary to keep the historic canal competitive in the global freight market.
Source: The Korea Herald
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