Sunday, June 11, 2023
HomeHeadlinesSouth Korean Trucker Strike Ends But Hurdles Remain


To our FREE newsletter
Get all the latest maritime news delivered straight to your inbox.

South Korean Trucker Strike Ends But Hurdles Remain

South Korea’s truckers began returning to work and factories resumed deliveries of goods from cars to steel after a weeklong strike, yet a return to normality still faces hurdles.

Companies including top steelmaker Posco immediately began deliveries of goods that had been piling up at warehouses, though several petrochemical firms including LG Chem Ltd. said production will normalize more gradually. And while road transport is being restored, the backlog of containers at ports may take a while longer to clear.

More significantly, despite the agreement reached late Tuesday, the union and government officials still need to iron out major issues. A spokesman for the union said it’s prepared to hold another round of strikes if details of the settlement aren’t adopted more permanently.

Economic Risk

The agreement came after production of Korea’s main exports was significantly curtailed, raising concerns that a prolonged strike would force more severe shutdowns. South Korea’s economy was at risk with the trade ministry estimating that key industries have seen production disruptions worth about 1.6 trillion won ($1.2 billion).

The drivers and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport agreed to extend a freight rate system guaranteeing minimum wages. The union is now pressing the government to remove the sunset provision that automatically terminates the system every three years, and also to apply it to shipments of all items, not just containers and cement.

“There’s definitely a chance for the union to resume the strike as they’ve warned, because they made a success this time,” said Ahn Dong-Hyun, an economics professor at Seoul National University. “The problem is that the Korean economy is already facing a very difficult time with rising inflation and global supply-chain disruptions.”

He added that the agreement gives confidence for other unions to stage work stoppages. Delivery workers for Korea Post announced a strike starting Saturday as they seek to negotiate on wages and employment conditions.

‘Thin Ice’

Newly elected President Yoon Suk Yeol, who faced one of his first economic challenges with the strike, echoed similar concerns in comments early Wednesday.

“It’s like we’re walking on thin ice, as we face high inflation and economic crisis,” Yoon said.

With the return of the drivers, most companies affected by the strike started to normalize their operations. Posco began shipping out products from Wednesday afternoon with a plan to resume operations at some of its plants from Thursday. Hyundai Motor Co. also said that production has been normalized at its Ulsan factory.

One of the hardest hit sectors by the strike was petrochemicals. LG Chem, Hanwha Totalenergies Petrochemical Co., Lotte Chemical Corp. and Kumho Petrochemical Co., all said they expect production and shipments to normalize gradually.

Seoul National University’s Ahn said conglomerates may adopt lessons from the past week’s event in case of further work stoppages.

“The big companies are not foolish,” he said. “They may hire truckers on their own if this kind of strike resumes, or employ other shipping companies whose truckers are not union members.”


Related Posts


Finance & Economy
Shipping News

Trafigura publishes 2023 interim results showing a strong performance

Trafigura, a market leader in the global commodities industry, released its 2023 Interim Report today for the six-month period ended 31 March 2023. The results...

Globus Q1 results hit by weak dry bulk market

Globus Maritime Limited, a dry bulk shipping company, reported its unaudited consolidated operating and financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2023. Revenue $8.6 million...

BW LPG appoints new CFO

BW LPG announced that it has appointed Ms Samantha Xu as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), effective 1 September 2023. Ms Xu has over 20 years...

Frontline Posts Highest First Quarter Results Since 2008

Frontline plc reported unaudited results for the three months ended March 31, 2023: Highlights Highest first quarter profit since 2008 of $199.6 million, or $0.90 per...

Diana Shipping posts slightly lower Q1 profit; takes out $123m in loans

Diana Shipping reported net income of $22.7 million and net income attributed to common stockholders of $21.3 million for the first quarter of 2023....

Celestyal Participates In Promotion Of The Tourist Destination Of Central Macedonia

Celestyal, the award-winning, number one choice for travellers to the Greek Islands and the...

Capesize, panamax gains drive Baltic index higher

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose for a fourth straight session on...

Baltic rises to over 3-month peak on firm demand for larger vessels

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index rose on Wednesday to scale its highest...

Baltic index logs best day in nearly 3 months

The Baltic Exchange’s main sea freight index posted its biggest single-day gain since mid-March...

Taiwan Shipping Firms Set to Hand Out Bumper Bonuses Again

Taiwanese shipping companies are handing out bumper mid-year bonuses despite a slump in global...

Iraklio port tender set for another delay

The opening of the binding financial offers for 67% of Iraklio Port Authority had been scheduled for Thursday, but this is no longer expected...

APM Terminals extends concession of Kalundborg container terminal

APM Terminals has reached an agreement with the Port of Kalundborg to extend the concession of Kalundborg container terminal by 10 years to 2033. In...

US West Coast port workers shut terminals in showdown over pay

The employers of more than 22,000 dock workers at U.S. West Coast seaports on Friday said the union representing those laborers “is staging concerted...

DP World Completes Terminal Expansion Project Vancouver Port

DP World has completed the AED954 million ($259.78 million) Centerm expansion project, increasing container throughput at the Port of Vancouver by 60 percent. The terminal...

DP World completes AED 954 million Vancouver port expansion

DP World and the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority have celebrated two historic events – the completion of the Centerm Expansion Project at DP World...