Container terminals in South Korea: problems and panaceas

Kevin Cullinane, Dong-wook Song

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    Korea has achieved remarkable economic growth over the last three decades. This has largely been due to the adoption of export-oriented economic policies. This economic development has resulted in a rapid increase in export and import cargos. Since the foreign trade of Korea is carried predominantly by sea transport (approximately 99.8% in terms of volume), ports play a crucial role in this process. Although recent port developments are aimed at keeping pace with ever-growing seaborne cargoes, problems persist, especially insufficient port capacity and inefficient management and operations. As a consequence, the ports of Korea suffer from serious port congestion. This problem is particularly acute in Pusan, the fifth largest container port in the world. In the past, all ports in Korea were controlled and administered by the Korea Maritime and Port Administration which was a public port authority. In August 1996, the Korean government established a new government organization, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), with a remit to control and manage its seaports and other related activities and to improve management efficiency in the maritime area. As a way of solving problems related to port congestion and other sources of inefficiency, the new MMAF has launched several new port development schemes. In this context, this paper will discuss (1) the extent of congestion in Korean ports, especially Pusan, the major seaport of the country; and (2) governmental and commercial reaction to solving the problems, including measures such as new port development schemes aimed at attracting private and foreign finance. From this analysis, a strategy for port development in developing countries may be inferred.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-80
    JournalMaritime Policy and Management
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1998


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