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[Herald Interview] Pyeongtaek Port moving fast to foster new growth engines

Newly established shipping routes from Pyeongtaek Port are giving it a competitive edge as the gateway for Korea’s exports to Southeast Asia for local industries, the head of state-run Gyeonggi Pyeongtaek Port Corporation said. 

Gyeonggi Pyeongtaek Port Corporation CEO Choi Gwang-il (GPPC)
Gyeonggi Pyeongtaek Port Corporation CEO Choi Gwang-il (GPPC)

“This year, (the company) has put efforts into expanding the cargo volume and seeking new businesses. It will now focus on turning the port into a vehicle-specialized port to become an automobile cluster, and on expanding the export routes,” GPPC CEO Choi Gwang-il said in an interview with The Korea Herald.

Inaugurated as the sixth GPPC CEO, Choi has led aggressive moves to boost the port business. By the end of his term in 2018, the 58-year-old head is planning to complete lining up long-term business sources for the port.

“The port marks its 30th anniversary this year. Now, it’s time to look 30 years ahead. It is necessary to prepare for the ‘software’ that will support the infrastructure that the company is working to establish soon,” Choi said.

Under the government’s scheme to expand the logistics business at the port, the company is preparing to establish a district next to the port to support shipping. The large-scale construction is slated to kick off in 2018.

GPPC and the Gyeonggi provincial government also jointly opened two new Southeast Asia-bound routes earlier this year, connecting to Vietnam and Thailand.

With the new routes and the two conglomerates -- Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics -- starting to use the port, the company managed about 9,500 twenty-foot (6.1 meters) equivalent units of Vietnam-bound containers as of October, showing a drastic surge of 279 percent on-year.

China-bound containers also rose by 10 percent to about 463,000 TEU this year.

Upon such a boost, the company managed more than 506,200 TEU in total from January to October this year, up by about 9 percent.

Managing the import and export of 1.5 million vehicles, the port has also been ranked No. 1 in the local automobile logistics sector for six years straight.

“(The company) will further inject efforts not only into making the port a vehicle-specialized port and opening new routes, but also to establish a new online-to-online logistics platform to draw more demand from the Chinese market,” he added. 

By Lee Hyun-jeong and Park Joung-kyu (rene@heraldcorp.com)

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