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Japan-South Korea container trade shrinks

Japan-South Korea container trade shrinks
It is estimated that container trade between Japan and South Korea shrank from a year earlier in 2019, suffering the first year-on-year contraction in four years, or since 2015.

Major contributing factors are believed to have been deteriorations in the Tokyo-Seoul relations and delays in shipping schedule due to the six typhoons that hit the waters between the nations.

The accumulated volume of containerized shipments moved on the Japan-South Korea route decreased 4% (or by some 70,000 TEUs) to 1,755,934 TEUs in the 11 months from January to November 2019, according to figures compiled by the Korea Nearsea Freight Conference (KNFC). As for local cargo, 344,659 TEUs were exported from South Korea to Japan, down 4.3%. Meanwhile, imports from Japan to South Korea declined 5.8% to 296,814 TEUs. The combined volume of transshipment (T/S) and feeder containers also waned, going down 3.4% to 1,114,461 TEUs in total.

Containers on the trade, however, improved 8.4% and 7.3% year on year in October and November, respectively, but are estimated to have fallen in December and January.

Japan tightened its restrictions on exports of high-tech materials to South Korea in July 2019. Reacting against it, South Korea boycotted Japanese products, leading to the expected contraction of the container trade between the economies. The total value of exports from Japan to South Korea plunged 12.9% to US$ 29,594,892 in 2019, according to trade statistics unveiled by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) of Japan on 23 January.



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