Korea To Help Ship Owners Replace Old Vessels, Improve Competitiveness

South Korea’s oceans ministry said on Thursday that it planned to provide financial support to local ship owners to help them replace their old vessels with new energy-efficient ones.

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Under the plan, small-and medium-sized ship owners can receive low-interest loans from state organisations to purchase new ships and improve their competitiveness, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The announcement came in line with the country’s vision to post combined sales of US35.7 billion from the marine shipping segment in 2021, up 11 per cent from last year’s estimate of 36 trillion won.

The combined volume of freight carried by local ship owners would also reach 1.05 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) this year, up 30 per cent from last year’s 800,000 TEUs.

The ministry said HMM Co., South Korea’s largest ship owner, posted its first operating profit of 980 billion won for the first time in 10 years by revamping its business structure.

State-run Korea Ocean Business Corporation, meanwhile, would also purchase up to 10 ships this year, which would be rented out to local ship owners.

South Korea said it planned to deploy at least two chartered ships every month to cope with shortages in the supply of services and allocate around 50 per cent of the capacity for small-and medium-sized firms.