Korean Shipping Industry

The seaborne cargo volume in Korean trade was 22 million tons in 1970 and has increased to 94 million tons in 1980, with an annual growth rate of 15.5% from 1970 to 1980. Against this backdrop, the Korean government supported Korean shipping companies to expand their fleets in order to back up the rapidly rising trade volume. Therefore, building up a national fleet became one of the key policy initiatives to achieve Korea's economic take-off and ensure its economy stability.

From the early 1980s, due to the serious global shipping recession, the financial structure of Korean shipping companies has deteriorated. To rise above this challenge of financial stringency, Korean shipping companies began consolidations and mergers with each other and finally rationalized their structure.

From 1989, the Korean government has implemented various policy measure to mitigate to cargo reservation system and also expanded its open door policy. This is mostly attributable for the success and accomplishment in the aforementioned shipping rationalization process.

At present, Korea has almost completed elimination entry barriers to its shipping market and its level of deregulation and liberalization has reached that of states in their advanced stage in such efforts.

Korea's shipping market has entered into a completely liberalized free competition system. Although the Korean flag share of total seabome cargo has decrease from 36.3% in 1990 to 18.0% in 2009, the total seaborne cargo volume in 2023 come up to 1,320 million tons. The figure in 2023 has increased by 1.2% year-to-year.

Korean Seaborne Trade Volume