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Shipping Companies Competing to Get Bigger

Global shipping companies are contesting for more bottoms with the industry booming after a long wait. South Korean companies, in spite of their efforts, are somewhat falling behind in the race.

Hapag-Lloyd and ONE recently ordered six 24,000 TEU container carriers. Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering is supposed to deliver the vessels to Hapag-Lloyd and those ordered by ONE will be built by Japanese companies. Since the beginning of the fourth quarter of 2020, a total of 30 container carriers with a capacity of 20,000 TEU or more each have been ordered worldwide. Evergreen Marine, which ordered 10 very large container carriers late last year, is considering placing additional orders.

HMM, the largest shipping company in South Korea, put twelve 24,000 TEU container carriers into operation last year. Still, it is currently the eighth-largest in the world with 719,000 TEU. Although it rose from 10th in one year, the bottoms of COSCO and ONE, the third- and sixth-largest, amount to 3,043,000 TEU and 1,599,000 TEU, respectively.

Those of Evergreen Marine, the seventh-largest, are 1,279,000 TEU. The gap between Evergreen and HMM is likely to widen with their bottoms scheduled to increase 472,000 TEU and 128,000 TEU, respectively.

The ongoing race is to realize an economy of scale. Some point out that it will lead to another oversupply in 10 years. Maersk, the largest container shipping company in the world, caused an oversupply 10 years ago by ordering twenty 18,000 TEU carriers at one time.
Source: Business Korea

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