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S. Korea's export-import cargo gains 1% in 2023 on exports recovery

Jan. 29, 2024 - 11:13 By Yonhap
This file photo taken Jan. 1, 2024, shows a pier in the southeastern port city of Busan packed with containers set to be transported. (Yonhap)

Cargo processed at South Korean seaports for exports and imports rose 1 percent on-year in 2023 amid signs of a recovery in the country's exports, the oceans ministry said Monday.

Export-import cargo handled at the ports nationwide came to 1.32 billion tons last year, compared with 1.31 billion tons a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.

The overall cargo handled at the domestic ports, however, inched down 0.04 percent on-year to 1.55 billion tons in 2023.

Of the total, processed container cargo hit an all-time high of 30.14 million twenty-foot equivalent units in 2023 by advancing 4.6 percent on-year.

The growth came as processed export-import container cargo went up 4.8 percent to 17.24 million TEUs led by the rising cargo volume for trade with China.

South Korea's handling of transshipment cargo, or cargo processed here en route to final destinations, also went up 4.8 percent on-year to 12.74 million TEUs.

Non-container cargo handled at the ports shed 1.4 percent to 1.03 billion tons in 2023.

By item, the volume of oil and coal cargo fell 1.0 percent and 1.3 percent, respectively, while the auto shipment gained 3.9 percent. That of iron ore also inched down 0.6 percent on-year, the data showed.

"Despite external risks stemming from high global interest rates and the Middle East crisis, container cargo reached a record high last year following China's border reopening and an exports recovery," a ministry official said.

After a yearlong downtrend, exports, a key economic growth engine, have bottomed out and logged on-year monthly gains from October last year. (Yonhap)