After acquiring the business operations of bankrupt Hanjin Shipping’s Pacific and Asian routes, South Korea’s Samra Midas Group has launched SM Line as the world’s newest container carrier and is currently buying up a number of vessels in the 4,000-6,500TEU range.
These include the five former Hanjin ships, Hanjin Bremerhaven, Hanjin Budapest, Hanjin Port Kelang, Hanjin Tianjin, and Hanjin Xiamen, all of 6,655TEU capacity and built in 2006, and two former German vessels, the 2009-built 4,253TEU Hammonia Pescara and 2007-built 1,118TEU Perla.
Still to be acquired are enough containers to support the new venture, as most Hanjin boxes are still tied up in litigation.
The SM Group also owns bulk carrier operator Korea Line, which it bought during bankruptcy proceedings in 2013, and has a majority holding in another formerly bankrupt South Korean operator, Samsun Logix.
If successful, SM Line plans to grow to a capacity of 110,000TEU, but its entrance into a market already having over 1.4 million TEUs of idle capacity is expected to be difficult. JS