Hyundai Merchant Marine Co., South Korea's second-biggest container carrier, is aiming to cut a deal that will set new rates on chartered ships this week, sources said Monday.
Hyundai Merchant is expected to sign an initial deal with the owners of chartered ships that can lower rates as early as Tuesday, government officials and industry insiders familiar with ongoing negotiations predicted.
The company has been in talks with 22 shipowners. It paid 976 billion won (US$823 million) in charter fees last year for 83 vessels leased.
Hyundai Merchant is likely to agree to a deal that brings the current rates down by some 20 percent. This is not as much as the 30 percent cut sought by the company and its creditors, but a positive development that reflects the position of shipowners, observers said.
Battling losses by an industry-wide slump, shipping lines such as Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hyundai Merchant are seeking to lower rates as their creditors demand steep cuts in charter fees as the core condition for a debt revamp plan. (Yonhap)