Hanjin Shipping plans to use its new container terminal at the southern Spanish port of Algeciras as a "beachhead" to challenge dominant European rivals on the West Africa and South America liner trades.
"We have already started the West Africa service -- that is already playing its part," said Kim Young Min, chief executive of the South Korean ocean carrier.
"We're looking at a service to South America … so this will be an important beachhead for our north-south penetration," Kim told the UK's Financial Times newspaper.
Hanjin has invested over $70 million in the new Total Terminal International which was inaugurated last week.
Hanjin was the sole bidder for the 30-year concession to operate the terminal which will have an annual capacity of 1.5 million 20-foot equivalent units and can handle ships of up to 8,000 TEUs.
The Algeciras terminal will be a major hub for Hanjin, transferring Asian cargoes to and from feeder services to West Africa and South America.
The South Korean carrier will be challenging Denmark's Maersk Line, whose sister company, APM Teminals, operates terminals in Algeciras and across the Strait in the Moroccan port of Tanger-Med.
It will also be competing with French carrier CMA CGM and Geneva-based MSC, which have stakes in a second Tangier terminal run by Eurogate, the German container terminal operating company.
Hanjin's Kim denied there is a surplus of container handling capacity in the Strait of Gibraltar.
"If you look at the three terminals operating both sides of the strait, they're essentially full. There's a need for the new terminal."
-- Contact Bruce Barnard at email@example.com.