Contract signing Hankook Tire & Hapag Dec 2021
The contract signing ceremony with on the left Hapag-Lloyd’s Asia MD Hans Schaefer and Hankook Tire & Technology CEO Lee Soo-il.

South Korea’s largest tyre-maker, Hankook, has signed a three-year shipping contract with German mainline operator Hapag-Lloyd to ensure sufficient shipping capacity, even as other shippers seem ambivalent about being locked into current freight rates.

Neither Hankook nor Hapag-Lloyd disclosed the shipping routes covered, citing business confidentiality.

The pair have had a business relationship for around 20 years, the liner operator handling a major proportion of the tyre-maker’s exports. Hankook said it decided on signing a contract with Hapag-Lloyd because of difficulties in securing shipping slots and containers, with volatile freight rates a challenge.

While several US retailers have signed multi-year shipping contracts to be assured of shipping slots at discounted rates, the picture is not as clear for Asian shippers, although the government has encouraged Chinese shippers to opt for such contracts.

Besides Hapag-Lloyd, Hankook said it was also looking at signing similar agreements with other liner operators, adding: “We’ll strive to ensure a smooth export flow, even in the difficult shipping market conditions, through partnerships with various domestic and overseas shipping companies.”

In June, UK trade magazine Tyrepress ranked Hankook as the world’s sixth-largest tyre-maker, with global sales of around $5.71bn.

Meanwhile, on 3 December, the Shanghai Container Freight Index reached 4,727.06 points, breaching 4,700 for the first time since October 2009, when freight statistics began to be compiled.


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