Korea Asset Management Corporation (KAMCO) has relocated its ship finance unit to the Busan International Finance Centre, joining the ship finance divisions of the country’s state-owned policy banks and export credit agencies in the port city.
KAMCO, a government agency that aims to restructure or liquidate distressed assets, has been actively helping cash-strapped South Korean shipping companies. Since 2009, KAMCO has taken over more than 27 ships in sale-and-leaseback transactions, spending more than USD720 million. The arrangement enables shipowners to continue operating their vessels while repaying the loans through charter hires.
KAMCO’s relocation to Busan is in line with the South Korean government’s strategy of developing Busan into a shipping centre, tapping on its proximity to Northeast Asia’s busiest port as well as the country’s shipbuilders. In 2014, Korea Development Bank, Korea Trade Insurance Corporation, and Export-Import Bank of Korea all moved their ship finance units to Busan.
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Over the next five years, KAMCO aims to provide KRW1 trillion (USD902 million) in financing to shipowners to purchase second-hand ships, as part of a national strategy to help shipowners tide over a market downturn.
South Korea’s minister of oceans and fisheries Yoo Ki-joon has signed an agreement to work with KAMCO in order to support the shipping industry. This will include personnel exchange programmes and the sharing of data and information.
The agreement is part of the government’s 140 national tasks to work towards the advancement of South Korea’s transport systems and maritime industry.