Sinokor containers Credit Sinokor Merchant Marine
Credit Sinokor Merchant Marine.

South Korean intra-Asia carrier Sinokor Merchant Marine has confirmed it has ordered four 2,500 teu ships at compatriot shipbuilder Hyundai Mipo Dockyard (HMD).

The ships, at more than $160m, will be delivered between the second half of 2023 and end of 2024.

Sinokor plans to deploy the ships on services between South Korea, Vietnam and Indonesia, as freight rates on these routes have doubled over the past year.

Rates from South Korea to Vietnam and Indonesia went up by 3% and 10% respectively last year and for South Korea-Vietnam and South Korea-Indonesia, they rose by 2.3 times and 2.6 times, respectively. Last month, rates for the South Korea-Vietnam and South Korea-Indonesia were around $1,198/teu and $1,603/teu.

Sinokor said: “We see demand in these tradelanes and we want to respond to the shortage of shipping slots.”

Sinokor’s local rival, Namsung Shipping, is also eyeing more business on South-east Asian routes and has ordered two similar ships from HMD. After delivery in mid-2023, it will deploy them on routes serving Indonesia and Malaysia.

Like other liner and feeder operators, Sinokor, South Korea’s largest non-listed shipping company, has been expanding its orderbook as freight rates continue to rise. Last year, it ordered 12 1,900 teu ships from HMD to be delivered by October 2023 and which are intended for services for Vietnam and Thailand.

Sinokor is the 20th-largest liner operator, with a fleet of 57 owned ships, for 109,181 teu of capacity, and a total of 20 on order, for 42,496 teu.

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