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TIN news:   It has been found that the container traffic of the Port of Busan is being affected by international shipping companies’ course rearrangement ahead of the launch of new shipping alliances scheduled for next year.
The Ministry of Oceans & Fisheries of South Korea announced on May 25 that the Port of Busan’s container traffic totaled 1.583 million TEUs last month, down 5.2% from a year ago, while the combined container traffic of all South Korean ports fell 2.5% to 2.148 million TEUs. During the same period, the 10 largest ports in the world recorded an average decline of 0.9% in container traffic. The amount increased by 7.4% for the Port of Guangzhou, 3.9% for the Port of Qingdao and 0.7% for the Port of Shanghai.
This can be attributed to a rapid decline in transshipment via Busan by shipping companies associated with the Ocean Alliance, which is a partnership led by China and France and slated to be launched next year. Last month, the transshipment via Busan to Europe dropped by no less than 34.3% or 16,000 TEUs with CMA-CGM, a French shipping company constituting the Ocean Alliance, altering its transshipment route. It is said that more than 90% of the decrement is attributable to its route adjustment.
The transshipment via Busan to China plummeted, too. In April, the amount showed a decrease of 11.5% or 31,000 TEUs while the entire traffic of the Port of Busan fell by 86,000 TEUs or so. The traffic is being affected by a decline in exports as well. In that month, the total exports from South Korea to China and the United States dropped by 18.4% and 6.4%, causing the traffic to the respective export destinations to fall 5.8% (9,000 TEUs) and 4% (5,000 TEUs).
The ongoing rearrangement of global shipping alliances is likely to keep affecting the transshipment via the Port of Busan for the time being. At present, the number of such global shipping alliances is four – 2M, G6, Ocean 3 and CKYHE – and it is likely to become three next year – 2M, Ocean Alliance and THE Alliance. 2M has Maersk Line and MSC, the top two in the industry, as its members and the Ocean Alliance has Cosco China Shipping, CMA-CGM, Evergreen and OOCL. The THE Alliance, led by Hapag-Lloyd and NYK, is preparing itself to be launched as well. Among South Korean companies, Hanjin Shipping is planned to join the THE Alliance as a founding member and Hyundai Merchant Marine is going to join it later after charter rate negotiations and restructuring are completed.
Their transshipment routes are likely to be adjusted along with the alliances themselves. Last year, the Port of Busan recorded a total traffic of 19.43 million TEUs and transshipment traffic accounted for 51.87% of it or 10.08 million TEUs. This amount is predicted to drop once the alteration picks up speed.
Another problem is Hyundai Merchant Marine. If the company fails to join the Alliance until the date of its launch in April next year, the transshipment via the Port of Busan will face a significant decline. As of now, Hyundai Merchant Marine takes up approximately 5% of the transshipment.

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