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Container volume hits 6-month low at Incheon Port

One of the temporary vessels Incheon Port Authority is using to resolve the shipping bottleneck (Yonhap)
One of the temporary vessels Incheon Port Authority is using to resolve the shipping bottleneck (Yonhap)
Container volume at Incheon Port, the nation’s gateway for seaborne trade, has tumbled to a six-month low due to severe bottlenecks at major ports around the world and more lucrative offers by Chinese cargo owners.

According to Incheon Port Authority on Sunday, the goods volume transported through the port was 1.64 million 20-foot-long containers in the June to November period this year, down 5.5 percent from a year ago.

The port said cargo owners around the world, especially those from China, are competing to secure vessels by offering higher shipping fares and many of the vessels are now heading directly to China.

The container volume transported between China and Incheon Port was down 6.7 percent to 992,098 20-foot equivalent units during the same period.

The port added that its container volume has also been hit hard by port closures in China and Southeast Asia due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Shipping companies are passing through the Korean port without stopping to save the time,” a port industry official said. “It seems inevitable for them when Chinese shippers offer higher fares.”

Korean export companies are experiencing difficulties due to the growing shipping fares as well.

According to a survey conducted by the Incheon Chamber of Commerce and Industry on 128 export companies in the metropolitan area last month, 31.7 percent of them said they are experiencing logistical difficulties due to rising shipping fares.

The survey found that 18.6 percent of them had difficulty in getting a ship, 16.3 percent were experiencing delays due to port congestion, and 13.5 percent had a hard time getting containers to ship their goods in.

The lighter traffic at the Incheon port has led to a surge in trade at Busan Port.

In order to resolve the issue, the Incheon port said they are contacting Korean shipping companies to mobilize temporary ships connecting Southeast Asia and other parts of the country.

By Hong Yoo (yoohong@heraldcorp.com)
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