S. Korea to add more shipping services to North America amid freight cost hike
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, June 7 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Monday it plans to increase the number of government-supported shipping services to North America starting next month to help local exporters cope with the hike in freight costs.
Under the plan, the country will operate four shipping schedules to North America monthly starting July under cooperation with HMM Co., South Korea’s largest shipper, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The figure marks a sharp rise from the previous plan to operate two shipping services to North America per month.
The move also came as South Korean exporters have been facing shortages in shipping services amid the global economic recovery.
The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index (SCFI), a barometer of global freight rates, came to 3,613.07 points on Friday, growing nearly four-fold from a year earlier.
South Korea said it plans to establish a fund worth 20 billion won (US$17.9 million) to offer low-interest loans to small-and-medium sized companies facing financial burdens from the hike in shipping costs.
Each company can apply for up to 30 million won with an annual interest rate of 1.5 percent.
South Korea’s exports jumped 45.6 percent on-year in May to extend their gains to a seventh consecutive month due to strong demand for chips amid the global economic recovery.
(END) (YONHAP NEWS)