SEOUL, May 2 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s leading shipper, HMM Co., said Sunday it has deployed one additional ship to the United States to cope with soaring freight costs amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

HMM said a 5,000 twenty-foot-equivalent unit (TEU) ship carrying local companies’ containers departed from the southeastern port city of Busan earlier in the day and is expected to arrive at a port in Los Angeles on May 13.

HMM has operated 21 temporary ships since August, with 15 covering U.S. routes, to handle a sharp rise in cross-border shipping demand in the latter half of last year.

South Korean exporters have been facing a hike in shipping costs coupled with shortages in services as the latest recovery in global business activities, previously hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic, has rekindled demand.

This photo provided by HMM on Sept. 13, 2020, shows an HMM container carrier. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)