NEAR bankrupt Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) has laid out a list of extraordinary ambitions - take delivery of six 10,000-TEU ships, join the exclusive Maersk-MSC alliance and dominate Asia-Middle East shipping.
Amazingly, HMM with its US$4.48 billion debt load plans to throw its six new leviathans into the Americas service, while plotting to dominate the Asia-Middle East as well as join the world's biggest 2M shipping alliance.
The new ships started joining the company's fleet in January 2016, when the first vessel, the Hyundai Earth, joined its owner, followed shortly by another four 10,000-TEU vessels, the Hyundai Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune.
HMM said that five of these vessels are operating on the North American east coast routes, which pass through the recently expanded Panama Canal, while the remaining one has been operating in South American west coast routes since January.
With these deployments, Korea's HMM increased its North American east coast fleet from 4,600-TEU vessels to more than 10,000-TEU ships, reports Rotterdam's World Maritime News.
On the edge of bankruptcy less than two weeks ago, HMM it has reportedly made peace with its lenders in a general creditor-led restructuring of the company.
This is combined with previously announced plans to dominate the Asia-Mideast trade by exploiting the lifting of international sanctions against Iran, according to Yonhap News Agency.
The company reportedly said it would send 12 containerships to operate on two separate shipping routes between the regions, as HMM expects its market share for the route to grow from eight to 13 per cent. HMM now operates one route between the Middle East and Asia.
HMM has reached agreements with containership owners on 20 per cent charter rate cuts and with owners of bulk carriers for 25 per cent charter rate reductions, which are expected to come in force over the next three and a half years.
After it gained the bond holders' approval for its debt restructuring proposal, the company's creditor-led restructuring scheme encountered a hurdle last week due to HMM's inability to find a global shipping alliance to join, and has therefore been pushed to late July.
Under the terms set by its creditors, led by the state-run Korea Development Bank (KDB), HMM needs to fulfil the restructuring prerequisites, which include a debt recast, reaching agreement on charter rate cuts and becoming a part of a global shipping alliance.
Source : HKSG – SNTR.