HMM in talks with Walmart

Korean owner looking to take over US retailer's deal with collapsed Hanjin.

Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) is in talks with Walmart to replace its contract with collapsed Hanjin Shipping.

HMM CEO Yoo Chang-keun told the Maeil Business daily that the US retail giant has been looking for an alternative line since its rival's receivership last year.

Hanjin reportedly handled about 30,000 containers for the US group every year – about 10% of its total freight volume.

Walmart denied reports this week it would never use Korean shipping lines again following the Hanjin bankruptcy.

The company was badly hit as cargoes were stuck on containerships when Hanjin went bust, after Korean state banks pulled the plug.

The Korea Times and Korea Economic Daily cited industrial sources as saying Walmart sent an email in December to Hanjin in the US stating: "Thank you for doing business with us. It is our company's policy not to deal with any Korean shipping line from now on. It is not because of Hanjin Shipping but because we don't trust the Korean government."

But a Walmart spokesperson told TradeWinds: “The rumours and recent reports of Walmart refusing to do business with Korean shipping carriers is simply untrue.

“While we are no longer doing business with Hanjin because of their recent bankruptcy, we are currently speaking to other Korean carriers regarding our shipping needs."