South Korea rebuilds shipping sector

Following the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping in February 2017, the South Korean Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced its five-year plan in April 2018 to rebuild the shipping sector.

For that government, the nostalgic fact that Hanjin Shipping became one of the top 10 shipping companies in the world is inevitable.

The plan aims to:

  • Guarantee stable cargo volumes based on maritime services and competitive freight rates, through a cooperative mechanism for the mutual benefit of shipping companies and shippers.
  • Restore the competitiveness of maritime transport by increasing the number of low-cost, high-efficiency vessels, expanding the national flag fleet with an additional 200 new vessels, including ultra-large container ships, and supporting the introduction of green ships.
  • Encourage shipping companies to continue innovating in the maritime field by reinforcing their mutual cooperation to ensure the stability of their management, promoting cooperation between container shipping companies, supporting small and medium-sized shipping companies, the protection of national and foreign base port terminals, and the control of maritime transactions.

Shipping sector

Already the five-year plan helped HMM, formerly Hyundai Merchant Marine, rise to 8th place (from 13th before 2018) in the global container shipper capacity rankings.

It also helped increase operating income in the shipping industry, and container shipping capacity.

At the same time, the Government has endeavored to build a global maritime energy hub through win-win partnerships between shipping and shipbuilding, and to increase the competitiveness of the shipbuilding industry by developing technology to build environmentally friendly ships. and support for ships that go “green”.


Advances made include:

  • Adjustment of overlapping routes and creation of new routes.
  • Granting of grants (to shipping companies) to replace coastal cargo ships with environmentally friendly ships, with the goal of building up to 100 green ships by 2022.
  • Establishment of an infrastructure for ships powered by liquefied natural gas.
  • Recovery of the shipbuilding industry by locating aquatic plant materials until 2022.
  • Launch of renovation projects.

According to UNCTAD data, in 2020 Korea maintained its position as the seventh country in the world by transport capacity in deadweight tons (DWT) (3.93% of total dwt).

In total, 1,615 vessels transported 80.5 million dwt; 82% of that tonnage was carried by 837 foreign-flagged vessels.

The maritime sector is regulated mainly by the Maritime Transport Law of the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.


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