Korean flagship expands fleet despite worldwide supply chain problems

Today marks the first day for HMM in THE Alliance. The Korean flagship joins Hapag-Lloyd, Ocean Network Express (ONE) and Yang Ming in the grouping that operates combined services on the main east-west trades.

Having skirted with bankruptcy four years ago, HMM was shunned from becoming a full member of any of the new three main alliances for a period of time, instead hooking up with Maersk and MSC in a vessel sharing agreement that came to a close yesterday.

Expanded fleet

Jae Hoon Bae, president and CEO of HMM, commented yesterday: “HMM will continue to expand its business coverage and develop more capabilities to successfully serve our valued customers.”

HMM is in the midst of taking a series of giant 23,000 teu newbuilds that will see it surpass new alliance partner Yang Ming into seventh spot in the global liner rankings.

THE Alliance is monitoring volumes and has slashed services dramatically in recent days, taking out more than a fifth of its services from Asia to Europe this month with more cutbacks expected to be announced soon.

“Extreme supply chain problems”

The scale and the speed of the service cutbacks by global liners is unprecedented.

The status as of early Wednesday morning in Europe is that 102 deepsea services have been blanked by the world’s carriers on multiple trades. This is up from 45 just two days ago and up from two blank sailings due to the pandemic just 10 days ago.

“The speed with which demand has declined creates supply chain problems we have not experienced before,” Lars Jensen from SeaIntelligence Consulting wrote on LinkedIn today.