Looking at the world map, the Republic of Korea is
part of a small peninsula at a corner of the continent of Asia.
But with the map turned upside down, the country is a marine
giant with vast potential, capable of reaching out to the world
from its front yard, the Pacific Ocean.
From a historical perspective, the 21st century will usher in a
fourth wave of the ocean age, or ocean century. Aspiring to
become a marine superpower in the New Ocean Age, Korea has
designated 'modernization and expansion of port facilities' as
one of the nation strategic projects.
In order to provide a framework for the establishment and
implementation of an integrated and efficient marine policy
that actively corresponds to the changes in the world marine
environment, the Korean government launched the Ministry of
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries on August 8, 1996.
Ports are not only the core
distribution arm of the Korean economy where 99.7% of all
export and import cargo is handled, but also at the center of
the logistics, waterfront industries, fisheries and
international trade sectors. As such, the coastal axis, which
centers on ports, is gaining attention as the new frontier of
national land development.
For you reference, before going into the details of individual
projects, geographical conditions of Korean ports and cargo
traffic prospects should be mentioned. As you know, these two
factors are vital pieces of information for the decision-making
process in port investment.
Korea is located in the center of the
world's trunk routes, including the North American route, the Southeast
Asian route, the European route and so on. Also, ports in Korea possess
more favorable conditions compared the competing ports of Kobe and
Yokohama in handling transshipment cargo originating from China, Russia
and Northwestern Japan. Considering its numerous geographical
advantages, the Korean government plans to promote Korea as the
logistics hub of Northeast Asia.
Total cargo traffic is expected to increase to 1.4 billion tons by the
year 2011. Container cargo will also increase from the current 6.7
million TEU to 20.2 million TEU during the same period. However, at
present, port facilities are capable of handling only 84% of the
expected total cargo traffic volume, and container handling
facilities('98) are only 80% sufficient. Based on the geographical
conditions discussed earlier and cargo traffic prospects, Korean ports
fully satisfy pre-conditions for investment.