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Oceans ministry to fortify maritime, logistics biz

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Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seung-hwan speaks during a press briefing at Sejong Government Complex, Wednesday. Courtesy of Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries
Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Cho Seung-hwan speaks during a press briefing at Sejong Government Complex, Wednesday. Courtesy of Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries

By Lee Kyung-min

The government will strengthen policy assistance for enhanced port logistics, a critical measure to help export firms overcome years of the COVID-19 health crisis and better prepare against unexpected similar disruptions, the oceans minister said Thursday.

The new policy objectives outlined by the Minister of Oceans and Fisheries, Cho Seung-hwan, seeks to promote the country's efforts in seeking long-term, sustainable growth underpinned by safe, green and digital administrative resources allocation.

The ministry said large cargo storage facilities will be built at Busan Port, to help exporters limit losses from short to long-term delays in shipping.

High value-added services will be introduced at major ports, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) stations and shipyard maintenance facilities, to promote integrated, high-productivity industrial activities.

A new port in Jinhae, Busan will become a smart mega port by 2029, as part of a fully automated port service to be implemented in major ports.

"Korea will create an ecosystem whereby the varying interests of businesses, the public and other stakeholders are pursued safely and effectively," he said during a press briefing at Sejong Government Complex, Wednesday, on the eve of the ministry's briefing with President Yoon Suk-yeol on its policy directives in Yongsan, Seoul, Thursday.

The government will launch a lease program for large vessel investors, to foster private-led maritime businesses. The amount of "ship funds" operated by state-run lenders will be raised to $3.6 billion (4.6 trillion won), up from the current $2.1 billion.

These incentives for ship investors will help smooth medium- to long-term privatization of HMM, a debt-ridden local container transportation and shipping firm, sustained by 7.4 trillion won of taxpayer money.

The ministry will create a 15 trillion won market to foster new marine industries including leisure and tourism.

The welfare of marine animals will be enhanced, as evidenced and accelerated by preparations for the release of the last captive Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, named Beebong, to waters off of Jeju Island.

The ministry seeks to release the Beluga whale, Ruby, kept in an aquarium in South Jeolla Province, in the latter half of next year.

The export of seaweed will be increased to $1 billion, up from $700 million last year.

Plastic waste found in the sea and coastal regions will be slashed by 50 percent by 2027, through the promotion of recycling and expansion of marine protected zones.


Lee Kyung-min lkm@koreatimes.co.kr


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