South Korea’s biggest shipping line Hyundai Merchant Marine has opted to split its twenty-vessel megaship order among South Korea’s top three shipbuilders as it seeks to accelerate its strategy of achieving 1 million TEU capacity.
HMM confirmed in April its intention to place orders for the 20 eco-friendly newbuilds, comprising of twelve vessels of 23,000 TEU capacity and eight of 14,000 TEU.
This week, HMM announced that it has now awarded a Letter of Intent for the newbuilds to South Korea’s three leading shipbuilders, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries.
DSME and Samsung Heavy have been selected to construct the 23,000 TEU vessels, with DSME building seven and Samsung building five. Delivery is expect in the second quarter of 2020 for both.
Meanwhile, Hyundai Heavy Industries will construct the eight 14,000 TEU vessels with delivery planned for the second quarter of 2021.
HMM said it is now working to negotiate details before finalizing agreements.
HMM, currently the world’s 11th largest shipping line, has become South Korea’s flagship carrier following the collapse of Hanjin Shipping.
The company has set an ambitious goal of achieving a fleet size of 1 million TEU capacity, more than double its current capacity of just under 400,000 TEU.
Funding for the newbuilds will come from the South Korean government’s Ministry of Ocean and Fisheries, which recently established a $4.5 billion fund to support the nation’s ailing shipping and shipbuilding industries.
HMM reported a net loss of $1.1 billion in 2017 but remains confident in its aspiration of becoming a leading global carrier.