KOREA-BASED Namsung Shipping Co. Ltd. is optimistic of the Philippine market, but admits freight volume in the country i still low.
“At this moment, we need more volume,” Namsung overseas business team general manager Bong-Hoon Koh told PortCalls in an interview at the launch of the carrier’s services with its Philippine agent, Southern Star Agencia Maritima Inc. (SSAMI).
SSAMI is a Philippine-based liner and bulk shipping agency established on January 1 this year. Aside from liner shipping representation, SSAMI offers container leasing, offshore support services, ship agency, and project logistics with a major market that includes both cargo owners and top logistics providers.
The carrier is eyeing a throughput of 450 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) per month for exports and 500 TEUs per month for imports, said SSAMI line manager Roland Poblete.
Koh, however, said volume at present is still below the target.
Namsung, South Korea’s first shipping line established in 1953, at present offers containerized cargoes only. It has not yet deployed any vessels in Manila but arranges slots on other vessels with which it has code-sharing arrangements.
“We have two fixed slot services: 70 TEUs under the FTS Service and 25 TEUs on the KPS Service,” Poblete said.
“Aside from the fixed slots, others are on a used SOC (shipper’s own container) basis to China, Japan, and Busan on the BMX/JTS/KPI services,” he added.
Household materials such as appliances, pre-fabricated houses and food items are mostly what are shipped from the Philippines to Japan via the Manila-Busan-Japan route.
From Busan, containers are transferred to Namsung vessels, which transport the cargo to its final destination.
Koh admits Namsung is a beginner in the Philippine market but says the country is “a very good point.”
The Korean carrier entered the Philippines in 2011. Celebrating its 60th year in the business, Namsung operates 19 vessels, with the smallest having a capacity of 340 TEUs and the biggest 1,850 TEUs, and an array of chartered ones.
The carrier has a network of services covering Japan, Thailand, China, Malaysia and Vietnam, with a focus on intra-Asian trade.
Photos by Roumina M. Pablo