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Two Mega Newbuild Containerships to Set Sail Ahead of Schedule to Facilitate Flow of Trade

Date. 2021-03-30
Hit. 74

Starting with the naming ceremony of HMM Gaon, her seven sister containerships of 160,000 TEU-class will be deployed in full swing


The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (MOF, Minister MOON, Seong-Hyeok) announced that a naming ceremony* for a newly constructed 16,000 TEU-class containership HMM Gaon will be held at the Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) Ulsan shipyard on 22 March Monday, and the newbuild, along with her sister vessel, will be deployed a month earlier than initially planned in order to help facilitate the flow of global maritime trade amid the Covid-19 pandemic.


* A naming ceremony is held to christen a brand-new vessel before it sets sail to wish for good fortune and safety of the new ship and its seafarers that would take on rough seasduring its voyage.


▶As fruition of the five-year shipping reconstruction plan, eight 16,000 TEU-class ULCVs will be deployed

In April 2018, the Korean government established a five-year plan to rebuild the shipping industry, including the addition of 20 new ultra large container vessels (ULCVs) to its national containership fleet, in an effort to enhance logistics competitiveness. Starting with the World’s largest containership HMM Algeciras on its maiden voyage in May 2020, all twelve 24,000 TEU-class containerships have been deployed one after another and have each made their 32 consecutive voyages fully laden with containersuntil early this year.


As fruition of the plan, eight 16,000 TEU-class newbuild containerships will be deployed from March throughout the second quarter of 2021.


To celebrate the start of the voyage, a naming ceremony for HMM Gaon, the second of the series, will be held at the HHI Ulsan shipyard on 22 March, in line with the first newbuild HMM Nuri set to embark on its maiden voyage from the port of Busan on the same day.


The event will be conducted with a limited number of attendees in compliance with COVID-19 safety guidelines, and graced by MOON Seong-Hyeok, Minister of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries as the guest of honour, together with leaders from relevant organizations including HAN Young-Seuk, President and CEO of HHI, BAE Jae-Hoon, CEO of HMM, and HWANG Ho-Seon, President of the Korea Ocean Business Corporation.


HMM Gaon, christened in the ceremony, is a mega container ship* measuring around 365 meters long, 51 metres wide, 29.8 metres high and can carry 16,000 shipping containers at a time.


* The size of the deck is 1.5 times larger than the Sajik Baseball Stadium in Busan (around 12,790 metres) and 1.5 times taller than 63 building (249 metres) or Eiffel Tower in France (324 metres)when measured upright.


As eco-friendly and highly efficient containerships, each ship from the 16,000 TEU series, including HMM Nuri and HMM Gaon, is expected to reduce carbon footprint with over 47% greater energy efficiency than the requirement* of the International Maritime Organization (IMO). All vessels in the series are equipped with highly advanced green technologies, including a ballast water management system, exhaust gas cleaning systems, often referred to as scrubbers, which prevent sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions and particulate matters from being released into air, as well as Alternative Marine Power (AMP) system which helps in reducing air pollution generated from diesel generators by using shore electric power.


* IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index (EEDI): (Required) 14.1 à (Calculated) 7.45 (47% improved)

EEDI requires a minimum energy efficiency level per capacity mile (e.g. tonne mile) for new ships, expressed in grams of carbon dioxide (CO2) per ton nautical mile. The smaller the EEDI, the more energy efficient ship design.


With the deployment of all eight 16,000 TEU-class containerships throughout the first half of this year, HMM’s fleet will comprise a total of 20 highly efficient and cost-effective mega containerships, which would strengthen its service competitiveness. Moreover, the capacity of national ocean carriers will be increased from 780,000 TEUs to more than 900,000 TEUs altogether, possibly further accelerating the realization of economies of scale.


“The Government’s five-year plan to rebuild the shipping industry is on the verge of coming to fruition. It is only the beginning,” said Minister Moon in a congratulatory speech in the ceremony. “Until the moment when the Republic of Korea can stand tall again as the World’s leading maritime powerhouse, we will do our utmost to seamlessly implement remaining tasks of the plan.”


▶To help tackle challenges on global seaborne supply chain, two newbuilds are deployed a month earlier than planned

The COVID-19 pandemic has put global supply chains under intense pressure. Europe’s major seaports are facing heavy port congestions and tight shipping capacity driven by vessel delays. Amid this situation, it is expected that the earlier-than-planned deployment of the two mega containerships on the Asia-Europe route would help alleviate the disrupted global seaborne supply chain like timely rain in drought. Her six sister vessels will be out on the waters one after another until June.


As for the trans-Pacific routes, the Government will continue to monitor shipping market trends and demand for seaborne cargo while constantly helping deploy extra loaders and secure shipping capacity for small and medium-sized enterprises.  


Furthermore, in response to continued growth in exports on semiconductors, automobiles, and bio health despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, a ‘Public-Private Joint Logistics Comprehensive Response Centre*' is in operation from December 2020 to keep the logistics flow running smoothly, and it will be operated until June 2021.


* The Public-Private Joint Logistics Comprehensive Response Centre is a whole-of-government response centre established to ease challenges in the logistics sector. More details can be found at http://ielsc.or.kr or 02-6000-5218.