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News & Press: News

Changing times of the South Korean economy

Friday, April 21, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kwang-Soo Lee
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The South Korean economy is under changing economic times as international trade becomes increasing challenging under new worldwide regulations. As Incheon airport has seen a decrease in some areas of passenger travel due to new limitations, our cargo sector has seen limited impact but concern remains. China was Korea’s number one trading partner in 2016 and while this relationship is important to us, we welcome the opportunity to expand to new markets to expand economic growth in South Korea.


In the past five years total and transshipment cargo volume to and from China, as well as its portion to total volume at Incheon Airport has consistently increased. As of March 2017, the percentage of total volume to and from China in proportion to total volume at Incheon Airport decreased by 0.9% and transshipment increased by 2.3%. However, because we are witnessing around 10% increase YoY in total volume handled at our airport, in absolute terms cargo volume to and from China has increased so far this year.


Air cargo items to and from China at Incheon Airport are mainly intermediary and capital goods such as semiconductors and electronic parts, which are critical to Chinese economic development. However, there is still a possibility that consumer goods such as cosmetics and clothing may be impacted by new trade regulations and thus Incheon Airport is actively investing in a strong marketing campaign to show not just the value of what South Korea can offer but the what the Incheon Airport can offer working with all on its issues we face in air cargo to further the development of this great industry.


On the other hand, Incheon Airport ranked 2nd in total cargo volume in 2016 according to ACI statistics. Despite economic recessions, a total of 2.71 million tons was handled, making it the largest ever volume handled since the opening of our airport. We plan to build upon this feat through pursuing new business models, providing timely infrastructure and making efforts to improve logistics processes and investment conditions.


As a board member, I am glad to see that the emphasis is now made on the expansion in cooperation with ICAO and ACI. I look forward to many changes and growth of TIACA in the days ahead.


Kwang-Soo Lee

Incheon International Airport

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