SEOUL, April 27 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Tuesday it will strengthen support to exporters facing a hike in freight costs by increasing marine shipping services amid the recovery of global trade from the new coronavirus pandemic.

Under the plan, South Korea plans to add two new scheduled services for the route to the Americas per month to cope with a shortage in shipping, according to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The government plans to add more ships for routes to Europe and Southeast Asia depending on the market’s demand. South Korea deployed a ship heading to Europe the previous day.

Since August last year, the country has already deployed 25 ships, which carried a total of 70,000 twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) of goods.

The move came after South Korean exporters have been facing shortages in shipping services amid the soaring demand.

 “The supply of marine and air shipping services is expected to fall behind the rising amount of trade, in sync with the recovery of the global economy and the inoculation of people with vaccines,” the Korea Ocean Business Corp. said, expecting the shortage to linger throughout 2021.

The Shanghai Containerized Freight Index, which shows the level of the current sea-route freight rate, rose to 2,762 in April, up from 2,641 tallied in December last year.