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The line's first regional feeder sailing will depart South Korea on March 8 for China, Thailand and Vietnam, industry sources told Korea's Pulse News. The first trans-Pacific sailing departs Busan for Long Beach the following month. Alphaliner reported that the line had intended to start with two strings but has scaled back to one, with five ships on a five-week rotation.
Construction conglomerate SM Group created SM Shipping to buy Hanjin Shipping’s core business operations during the defunct carrier’s receivership proceedings. As part of that transaction, SM also secured the right to buy a majority stake in Hanjin's Korean terminals at Gwangyang and Gyeongin (Incheon), and it is now said to have an interest in Hanjin's Busan terminal as well. SM Group's new SM Shipping brand has been building up a small fleet, including five 6,500 TEU vessels from Hanjin, one panamax and six container feeders. It aims to double its capacity to 110,000 TEU by 2018.
The news of a March departure date appears to refute earlier reports that the firm would not be able to start services on schedule. SM Shipping was only formed in December, and industry insiders expected a delay in its rapid launch due to a shortage of containers.
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