SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Friday it plans to deploy at least five vessels by the end of February to support exporters facing troubles from a hike in freight costs amid soaring demand.
Under the plan, HMM Co., the country’s leading shipper, will operate a ship with a capacity of 4,600 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) on the American route in January, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
TEU is a measure used for the capacity of container transportation.
SM Line Corp., another local bulk carrier, will deploy 3,400 TEU and 6,500 TEU ships on the route in February as well.
As for the European route, HMM will run a 5,000 TEU ship within this month, according to the ministry.
South Korea said while the global freight costs are expected to gradually ease down the road after mid-February, it still needs to support exporters, considering the price is set to decrease slowly.
The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), which shows the level of current sea-route freight rate, rose to 2,885 as of Friday, sharply up from 1,023 in January last year, as demand for shipping has been steadily rising amid the pandemic.