Korean Shipping Industry

The rapid growth of Korean economy and its surge in trade since the 1970s has encouraged Korean shipping companies to expand the Korean flag's tonnage at an accelerated place.

The Korean fleet grew from about 800 thousand gross tons in 1970 to 4 million gross tons in 1980, recording an annual average growth rate of 17%. However, Korean shipping companies failed to match their rapid growth with a corresponding increase in profitability due to excessive intemal and external competition and serious global shipping stagnation in the early 1980s.

After 1985, the growth rate of the Korean fleet has turned to a sharp decrease as well. From 1990 and onwards, the Korean fleet has increased from 9 million gross tons in 1990 to 11 million gross tons in 2003 which indicates a mere 2.7% annual average growth rate.

But after the second half of 2003, the Korean fleet has rapidly increased due to market recovery. As a results, the Korean fleet in 2023 grew to 57.0 million gross tons.

Korean Merchant Fleet Status (1980-2023)