South Korean shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) intends to double its vessel capacity by 2022 as part of the company’s long-term plan, C.K. Yoo, HMM President & CEO, said in its New Year message.
The plan includes the recently unveiled 22,000 TEU newbuilding construction project that is expected to be realized this year.
As explained by Yoo, HMM’s maritime technology sector needs to improve the efficiency of ships operation in an effort to enhance the safety and fuel consumption. Further, the sector needs to focus on all of the technologies applicable to the building of mega containerships, in addition to keeping a close eye on new technologies which may turn out to be a “game changer.”
To prepare for mega growth in 2020, the company plans to launch many projects in the IT sector such as the upgrade of operational and analytic programs, in addition to equipment and ship optimization programs.
“This year, the first year in our preparation for 2020, is likely to be another year of uncertainty. According to the latest reports from various maritime research institutions, while they are positive about the prospects of the world economy this year overall, they cite protectionism, unstable oil prices and regional oversupply of tonnage as negative challenges for the shipping industry,” Yoo said.
“Under these circumstances, while we deal with such a fluid environment with flexibility and agility, we ought to persistently pursue growth and profitability,” he added.
During the past year, the company concluded deals with K2 and 2M, making use of its tonnages and achieving “synergy as a result of the cooperation.” Now, HMM is to design products in newly added services in the East-West lane and offer more products, combined with expanded coverage in Asia through the cooperation with K2.
In 2017, five VLCC and two 11,000 TEU containerships compliant with the new environmental regulations in 2020 were ordered or acquired by the company.
“In the wet bulk sector, we will make the most of the new order for five VLCC vessels… Also, the dry bulk sector should revamp the tonnages to be more competitive as the old chartered tonnages are being returned to owners,” Yoo continued.
HMM also acquired operational rights or partial ownership of several terminals at key hub ports in an aim “to establish a long belt of hub ports connecting East and West, from the US west coast ports to Rotterdam in Europe.”
Moreover, the company reached the four million TEU milestone in annual lifting in 2017, compared to three million TEU in 2016.
In the future, HMM’s focus will be on optimal use of vessel and terminal assets, as informed by the CEO.
“I am convinced that these achievements have laid a solid foundation for our long-term plan where we continue to consider ways of doubling our vessel capacity by 2022 including the launching of mega containerships as we deem the environmental regulations in 2020 as a golden opportunity for our resurgence,” Yoo concluded.