South Korean port operations disrupted by Covid-19

There has been a build-up in the number of containers in South Korean shipyards following the outbreak of Covid-19 in China. China is South Korea’s major trading partner. Vessels bringing goods to Korea from China have slowed significantly, leaving customs inspection storage units nearly empty.

Incheon Port Authority said late last week that the container storage yard utilization ratio of four container terminals was at around 80%, up from an average of 75% in recent days.

Many ports and manufacturers in China appeared to have shut down operations, leading to a halt in freight transfers, although there were some reports of a “gradual” return to work by port staff after the extended New Year break.

South Port Incheon Container Terminal, which can handle 20,858 teu, 20,657 teu were stored early last week, equal to 99% of the storage yard. Storage yard utilisation ratio for E1 Container Terminal in South Port, which can store 7,900 TEU, was 92.8%, The ports are considered saturated when the ratio reaches 80%.

Incheon Port Authority said that it would create temporarily two container storage spaces in Incheon New Port for 14,400 teu and a space for 850 teu in South Port.