South Korean shipping company Hyundai Merchant Marine has signed an agreement with smaller Asia-only carriers Heung-A Shipping and Sinokor Merchant Marine to form a niche shipping alliance targeting intra-Asia trade.
The new alliance, called HMM + K2, is planned to begin operations in March 2017 and will automatically renew every two years. The network will cover Japan, China and South East/West Asia trades, and will include vessel sharing, slot exchanges, and slot purchase agreements. There are also plans to bring in joint investment in port infrastructure and container equipment in both near and long term.
Formal contracts are expected to be signed next month.
“HMM will acquire competitiveness against mega shippers, as HMM will fully access Heung-A and Sinokor’s Intra Asia networks which particularly focus on the Korea-Japan and Korea-China trades etc,” Hyundai Merchant Marine said in a press release announcing the HMM + K2 alliance.
“This consortium will result in cost savings and improvement in customer services for Heung-A and Sinokor which also strengthen their weak points in Tri-party services.”
Hyundai Merchant Marine is currently a member of the G6 Alliance, which is due to expire next year. Beginning April 1, 2017, HMM will form a “strategic cooperation” with the 2M alliance, made up of Maersk and Mediterranean Shipping Company, but will not join the 2M as a full-time member.
Joining an alliance with major shipping firms was one of the conditions of a debt restructuring deal between heavily-indebted Hyundai Merchant Marine and its creditors in May.