Pyeongtaek Port outperformed those in Incheon and Busan to become Korea’s fastest-growing port, all thanks to the work of one man who succeeded in promoting the port’s geographical advantage.
Kim Jeong-hun, the general manager of the Promotion and Marketing Division, transformed the virtually unknown Pyeongtaek Port into the automobile distribution hub of Korea after he joined the Gyeonggi Pyeongtaek Port Corporation in 2009.
“I was certain that we could surpass Incheon Port if we properly promoted Pyeongtaek Port’s strength, which is its proximity to China,” Kim said.
Kim traveled to companies all over the world to promote the port’s reachability to and from China, visiting about 9,200 companies in the past five years.
As a result of his efforts, the port has marked the largest increase in car distribution for four consecutive years. As of the end of last year, over 10 million cars from domestic and global patrons, such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Land Rover, have gone in and out of the country through the port.
Although it seems that Kim was born for the position now, it took a tragic family event to help him find his calling.
“Parting with my father became a turning point in my life,” Kim said.
“When I was in college, I would enter and place in various contests just to see my father smile. Sometimes I would make up excuses to have my father go to award ceremonies in my place, so that I could make him happy.”
In 2008, when Kim’s father suddenly passed away from cardiac arrest, Kim was a reporter at Kyunghyang Shinmun. Shaken and confused by the shock of his father’s death, he decided to quit his job.
“I just couldn’t get anything done,” Kim said. “I needed some time to reflect on myself. But my wife, she didn’t say anything and just tightly held my hand. It offered such condolence, and I’m still thankful to my wife, thinking about it now.”
After several months of contemplation, he joined the Gyeonggi Pyeongtaek Port Corporation, in hopes of finding a job that gave him a sense of accomplishment and at the same time was worthwhile.
When asked whether he could be considered the biggest contributor to the port’s growth, Kim replied, “I have only tried to properly inform (people about) Pyeongtaek Port, which already had an excellent competitive edge.”
By Park Joung-kyu and Suh Ye-seul