A new American initiative to develop supply chains outside of China has put Korea both in the driver’s seat and in a delicate position to
Korean Trade Investment Pays Off with Largest Container Ship
Even at a time of global constriction in the worldwide shipping industry as a result of shrinking economies from the coronavirus pandemic, there’s bright news for Korea’s shipping sector. President Moon Jae-in in late April helped to christen the world’s largest container ship, the Algeciras.
Longer than four football fields and able to carry more than 24,000 containers, the Algeciras is the first of a dozen large ships to be operated by HMM, Korea’s primary shipping company. These new vessels, part of a new generation of extra-large container ships called “megamaxes,” will join the HMM fleet over the next year.
The Algeciras is the first in the series of seven sister vessels and has a nominal container capacity of 23,964 TEU, which is 208 TEU larger than the current largest box container ships now in use. The shipping term “TEU,” which stands for “Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit,” is used to measure a ship’s cargo carrying capacity. The dimensions of one TEU are equal to that of a standard 20′ shipping container: 20 feet long, 8 feet tall. The 400 meter-long vessel features 24 rows across. All seven megamaxes will be delivered by end of 2020.
President Moon has implemented an unprecedented series of actions to protect the Korean economy. The day before the Algeciras’ launch, the President initiated a fund worth more than $33 billion to help Korea’s key industries survey the global economic slowdown resulting from the coronavirus outbreak. Those industries include shipping and shipbuilding.
“The government will be with companies till the end so that the shipping industry can ride out the coming wave,” Mr. Moon told the Wall Street Journal . “We will certainly prevent the collapse of the global supply chain.”
HMM, formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine, is a significant player in the world shipping trade, with nearly 2 percent of the global container market. That puts it on a level par with regional carriers around the world. HHM has committed to an investment of $2.8 billion for the megamax ships and another eight smaller ships that can move 15,000 boxes each in an order signed with Korean yards in 2018.