South Korea Plans $6 Billion in Port Redevelopment by 2030

South Korea announces port redevelopment plan
Busan's North Terminal is among the port areas being redeveloped (file photo)

Published Dec 29, 2020 7:40 PM by The Maritime Executive

South Korea’s Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries announced an ambitious ten-year plan investing more than $6 billion into the redevelopment of ports around the country. The goal is to better integrate the ports into the cities and create tourism, culture, and commerce to revitalize the ports and the surrounding areas.

The Third Basic Port Redevelopment Plan targets a total of 19 projects to be carried out over the next decade. The play lays out the principles and guidelines for the project and specific plans for regional participation and various systems improvements. 

Deputy Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Park Jun-Young said, “The port, which is the center of international trade, has played a role as a key infrastructure for the growth of the national and regional economy, but it is true that some port facilities in the city have been an obstacle to urban growth. We will do our best to make ports a new growth base linked to the city and to return the sea to the citizens.”

In announcing the new plan, the ministry highlighted some of the previous successes at taking old and idle ports and creating new functions. Among the successful projects was the creation of the Donghae Mukho Port adding park areas for the citizens and the redevelopment of some of the conventional piers in the Busan North Port.

To achieve the goal of redeveloping ports in South Korea, the minister cited challenges, including the “excessive pursuit of profitability” as well as controversy, lack of community and local involvement, and unclear roles for the local government and the port authority.

To address these challenges and activate the port redevelopment project, the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries outlined three strategies. This includes calling for greater local involvement in the projects recognizing the need for land use principles and the fact that many of the ports require better connections to the city center. Also, they recognized the need to promote the participation of citizens, local governments, and port corporations so that the practical business effect of port redevelopment goes to the region.

The second strategy calls for the development of a system that categorizes and supports the projects. The goal is to identify and support rapid project promotion by omitting the third-party public offering procedure and negotiating for small redevelopment projects. They will also accelerate elements such as the ground use and leases for the site to be advanced before the project is completed.

A total of 14 ports is being targeted as redevelopment areas. The 19 projects will be divided into three types with one group focused on supporting the maritime industry, another group focusing on enhancing the city center, and the third to enhance local life and culture.

Among the projects currently underway is the redevelopment of the Busan North Port and Incheon Inner Port as well as the construction in 2021 of a large-scale LNG storage facility at the Gwangyang Port. In 2022 they will also resolve the shortage of industrial and logistics sites at Gwangyang.

Other projects will be focused on fishing ports, including in the Gunsan and Ulsan. Large-scale landfills are also planned for some of the ports to support the growth of the maritime industry, while many of the projects will enhance city development in some of the older port areas as well local and cultural life to improve the living environment and meet the cultural and tourism demands of citizens.