Korean flagship carrier HMM will double the number of reserved slots for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on its extra loader services from the end of this month, particularly those bound for the US west coast.
On that route, 600 teu will be kept for SME shippers, up from 350 teu, and those that signed long-term service contracts with HMM for various routes will also get an additional 350 teu space.
To encourage SMEs to sign long-term shipping contracts, the Korean government is offering subsidies of up to $17,000 per shipment.
In all, 1,050 teu will be reserved for SMEs, up from 450 teu, and allotments for US east coast- and Europe-bound shipments remain unchanged, at 50 teu each.
Eligible shippers can apply for the additional slots from the Gobiz Korea (kr.gobizkorea.com) website from today.
The additional space is being set aside at the request of the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Korea SMEs and Startups Agency, which expects surging demand amid the traditional peak period for long-haul shipments during the third quarter, including shopping events such as ‘Black Friday’.
The ministry’s global growth policy division head, Kang Ki-sung, said: “Exports from South Korean SMEs reached an all-time high of $56.5bn in the first half of this year.”
HMM began ad hoc sailings in August last year and, to date, has carried 9,669 teu for SME shippers on these voyages.