(ATTN: UPDATES with quotes from president in paras 4-6; ADDS photo)
By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) -- South Korea aims to nearly double the revenue in the country's marine shipping sector by 2030 and spare no efforts to help local shippers overcome the heightened competition amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the ocean ministry said Tuesday.
The targeted 70 trillion won (US$61.8 billion) in sales by 2030 will mark a 75 percent rise from 40 trillion won estimated for this year, according to the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries.
Under the new vision, the country's marine shipping capacity will also reach 1.5 million twenty-foot-equivalent units (TEUs) by 2030, nearly doubling from 780,000 TEUs estimated in 2020.
The ministry unveiled the plan during a launching ceremony in Busan for South Korea's No. 1 shipper HMM Co.'s new 16,000-TEU class container ship Hanul. The event was attended by President Moon Jae-in, Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki and Industry Minister Moon Sung-wook, among others.
In his speech at the ceremony, President Moon vowed to lead South Korea in making the leap to become the leader of the global maritime shipping industry.
"We will now engage in much bigger challenges. The maritime shipping industry will create opportunities for growth through enlargements of container vessels, the acceleration of transitions to eco-friendly vessels and ports, and digitalization of the maritime shipping industry," Moon said.
Moon also stressed the government's goal to dominate 50 percent of the global maritime autonomous vessel market by 2030 by speeding up the adoption of smart maritime logistics systems.
Sales of the country's maritime shipping industry came to 39 trillion won in 2015, but they sharply lost ground in the following years after Hanjin Shipping Co., once the world's seventh-largest shipper, tumbled and dealt a fatal blow to the industry.
The annual sales in the sector further dropped, reaching 29 trillion won in 2016. Hanjin Shipping went bankrupt in early 2017.
The ocean ministry said the country's shipping industry has been posting a solid recovery on the back of the government's five-year revitalization plan unveiled in 2018, adding that HMM also turned a profit last year.
South Korea, however, said local shippers are expected to face more competition overseas amid the COVID-19 pandemic and vowed to raise up to $3 billion to help local shippers increase the size of their fleets.
The country also plans to help local firms develop the latest marine technologies, including self-driving ships and automated ports.
The ministry will help HMM launch orders for 12 additional container ships as well.
In terms of the environment, the ministry said it will invest around 254 billion won by 2031 to develop carbon-neutral vessels.
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