Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, South Korea’s largest vehicle port, continues to feel the pain of the country’s declining car exports.
Pyeongtaek Regional Oceans & Fisheries Administration said that in the first half of 2015, the twin port handled 762,780 cars, down from 786,423 cars in the same period in 2014.
Of the cars handled by Pyeongtaek-Dangjin, 456,982 were exports. This is down from 476,958 exports in the first half of 2014.
Vehicle transhipments also fell from 208,497 units to 172,229 units.
Amid an economic slowdown in South Korea’s key car export markets, exports fell 3% year on year (y/y) to 1,551,982 units in the first half of 2015.
Data from the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed that although Korean car exports to North America rose 17.1% y/y in the first half of 2015, exports to Eastern Europe plunged 64.9% y/y.
Also in the first half of 2015, South Korea’s vehicle production fell 0.9% y/y to 2,321,840 units.
IHS Automotive analyst Paul Newton commented, “South Korean vehicle production is unlikely to see any improvement this year, as exports to key markets remain sluggish. This is largely due to the strengthening South Korean won against major foreign currencies, while at the same time, the relatively stable/weak yen places pressure on the export competitiveness of South Korean-made vehicles.”
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On the other hand, South Korea has been importing more cars, even as the increase is not enough to offset the drop in exports.
Pyeongtaek-Dangjin handled 122,890 imported cars in the first half of 2015, up 35.6% from 90,658 imports in the first half of 2014.
Imported vehicle sales in South Korea hit a monthly record of 24,275 units in June, up 36.4% y/y, with a market share of nearly 15%, according to data from the Korean Automobile Importers’ and Distributors’ Association (KAIDA).
South Korea’s free trade agreements with Australia, Europe, and the United States have enabled more foreign vehicle makes to enter the country.
BMW remains the foreign brand with the most car sales in South Korea, with sales up 24.6% y/y in the first half of 2015 to 27,978 units. Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen are also seeing good growth, with sales up 44.3% and 47.5% y/y to 20,910 units and 20,373 units, respectively.
Accordingly, Pyeongtaek Regional Oceans & Fisheries Administration said it will undertake continuous development to ensure Pyeongtaek-Dangjin remains South Korea’s biggest vehicle port.
“We will do our best to expand the port and improve supporting infrastructure to ensure the growth of Pyeongtaek-Dangjin,” said the administration.