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SM Line opens 3rd Vietnam service
SM Line kicks off 3rd VIX (Vietnam Indonesia Express) service on Aug. 17.
Tuesday, August 08, 2017, 17:22:33 Paul Yoon ckyoon7@paran.com
SM Line said on Aug. 7 that it will deploy four 1,600-teu containerships, commencing 3rd VIX service linking Korea with Indonesia and Vietnam. VIX provides service calling in the following rotation at Gwangyang-Qingdao-Busan-Shanghai-Ho Chi Minh-Jakarta-Surabaya-Yantian-Gwangyang, weekly deploying ‘Cape Fulmar’ of 1,440-teu class which leaves Qingdao on Aug. 17.

SM Line plans to independently provide VIX service by running four containerships including ‘SM Jakarta’ of 1,679-teu class (built 2000), ‘Cape Fulmar’ of 1,440-teu class, and other chartered-in ships. The shipping line has been providing two existing Vietnam services including VTX service of Ho Chi Minh-Bangkok-Laem Chabang along with KHX service of Haiphong-Hong Kong-Xiamen, and has added the new VIX Service, providing 3rd Vietnam service this time.

SM Line has reasoned the opening of VIX, citing: “We have opened VIX in a move to go into Indonesian market as well as to strengthen Vietnam service and to expand service to the East Coast of U.S. We are expected to level up our clout on the Intra-Asian trades and strengthen our service to U.S. at the same time, killing two birds with one stone.”

Though SM Line has previously been providing a weekly VTX service for Ho Chi Minh, the opening of VIX is expected to increase VTX’s weekly service to two weekly frequencies so that it can provide diverse services of week-day and week-end to its customers.


In the long-term perspective, the opening of the extra VIX Service this time aims to strengthen Vietnam services, which, in turn, will eventually help the shipping line expand its service network to the East Coast of U.S. as planned to open it during Q1 next year.

A SM official said, disclosing the shipping line’s aspiration: “The newly opened Indonesian service will not simply stay as new but also provide diverse service in expansion to our customers. We will build up a global network as the Korean flag ocean-going shipping line.”

SM Line plans to open next year an extra service to the Eastern and the Northwestern Coast of the U.S. as well as to the Southeast Asia within this year. The VIX has completed a total opening of nine services including CPX service to Northwestern coast of U.S. and eight Intra-Asia services as SM Line targeted for completion within this year, but it plans to establish two extra services to Southeast Asia within this year in a move to strengthen the Intra-Asia service in support for extra services to the Northwestern Coast of U.S. to be provided next year.

Meanwhile, SM Line has secured a total of 18 containerships to date including 3 x 8,500-teu class, 8 x 6,655-teu class, 2 x 4,253-teu class, 1 x 4,253-teu class, 3 x 1,600-teu class and 1 x 1,000-teu class, all-owned. In addition, it has recently inked S&P agreements covering three containerships namely ‘ER Tianan’ of 8,210-teu class (built 2005), and both ‘SCT Oman’ and ‘SCT Qatar’ of 4,860-teu class each (built 2010).

SM Line intends to secure more than one 8,000-teu+ containership within this year as it requires at least five ships of this class to open service to the East Coast of U.S. during Q1 next year. The shipping line tallies a total of 10 x 8,000-teu+ class ships to provide full service to the East Coast of U.S. Since the shipping line feels it too heavy to operate 10 x 8,000-teu class ships alone, SM Line is understood to keep in close touch with a number of global container shipping players to join hands.
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