S Korea's Gwangyang port needs govt help to recover lost volume

  Oct. 30--A RULING party legislator is urging that measures be taken to boost rapidly shrinking volumes at South Korea's Gwangyang port, including greater government funding.

  Representative Lee Gae-ho, elected from the constituency that includes the southern city of Gwangyang, said the volume of cargo handled at the port has dropped for five years in a row.

  "There were less than 2.3 million TEU processed at Gwangyang last year, and the goal for 2.33 million TEU this year is also unlikely to be met," he said during a parliamentary audit, reported Hellenic Shipping News.

  The port has been losing business even more sharply in the wake of Hanjin Shipping's court receivership last September, leading to major changes in shipping alliances. This has severely impacted Gwangyang port, where 85 per cent of its cargo arrived through such alliances. The figure plunged to 35 per cent after Hanjin's bankruptcy.

  Mr Lee compared Gwangyang port with South Korea's largest port, Busan, which received KRW14.6 billion (US$12.9 million) to help it attract transit cargo, while Gwangyang received KRW5.3 billion. Busan port also obtained KRW3 billion from the city government in assistance, whereas Gwangyang port got just KRW130 million from its own city, the legislator said.

  "The government at one point had moved to build a two-port system involving Gwangyang and Busan," Mr Lee was quoted as saying. "There needs to be enlarged state assistance to Gwangyang port to keep the port viable and allow it to grow."


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