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South Korean Trucker Strike Poses Another Risk to Global Trade and Supply Chain Challenges

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South Korean Trucker Strike Poses Another Risk to Global Trade and Supply Chain Challenges

South Korean Trucker Strike Poses Another Risk to Global Trade and Supply Chain Challenges

Thousands of truckers in South Korea have gone on strike. Truckers are protesting at 16 locations across the country, according to the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). Strikes began on Tuesday, and by Thursday the daily volume of container boxes transported to and from the 12 ports in South Korea decreased by 64% according to data from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

Truck drivers are striking to influence the government not to abolish a current three-year rule that was created in 2020, set to expire this year, that guarantees minimum wage for the drivers. Bloomberg reports the ITF stated the union is demanding the government extend the minimum wage scheme to all drivers of freight vehicles. Truckers are demanding the minimum wages as fuel prices continue to soar.

Bloomberg reports, “No goods went in or out of Ulsan port on Thursday, where leading automaker Hyundai Motor Group has its production facilities, the ministry said. Meanwhile, deliveries to Pohang and Daesan port dropped to zero, affecting the transportation of steel and petrochemicals.”

Reuters reports on Friday, traffic dropped to a third of normal levels at Busan port, which accounts for 80 percent of South Korea’s container activity, according to a government official. Traffic fell to 20% of normal levels at the Incheon port, and at the Ulsan port, where much of the strike action has occurred, container traffic has been completely suspended since Tuesday as of Friday morning.

Photo: Members of Cargo Truckers Solidarity of the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions shout slogans during a rally in Gwangju, South Korea, Friday, June 10, 2022. (Chung Jung-in/Yonhap via AP)

On Thursday, the Land Ministry said about 37% of 22,000 union members have joined the strike.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport stated auto, cement and steel production have experienced disruptions. South Korea is home to large car companies such as Kia and Hyundai Motors. South Korea is also the largest memory chip exporter in the world. The Land Ministry said in a statement that the government is trying to ship out emergency exports through cooperation with police.

The on going strike will likely continue to cause disruptions and delays. Krieger Worldwide will continue to monitor the on-going strike and update our clients on any emerging critical information. If you have questions or concerns, contact Krieger Worldwide today to discuss alternative routes, strategically using airfreight, expediting critical shipments, and storage options. Together we can!