MOF’s Work Plan for 2021

Embarking on a Voyage to Lead the Republic of Korea’s Economic Growth
The Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries (hereinafter referred to as ‘MOF’) launched its work plan for 2021 on January 28 to take stock of achievements the current Moon Administration has made in the past four years in maritime and fisheries-related policy areas and to identify priority areas of work in this brand new year.
A. MOF has underpinned the country’s export by fully implementing its five-year plan to rebuild the shipping industry which was announced in April 2018.
Since Hanjin Shipping—once one of the world’s top 10 shipping companies—was declared bankrupt in February 2017, operating revenue in the shipping sector has increased by 24 percent and the container shipping capacity has risen by 70 percent. The five-year plan also helped HMM, formerly known as Hyundai Merchant Marine, to move up its global ranking as a container carrier to the eighth place from the thirteenth in terms of capacity, which is comparable to the level Hanjin Shipping once enjoyed.
Korean shipping companies recovered through the implementation of the five-year plan have played an active role in addressing logistical difficulties including a global shortage of shipping containers by deploying extra-loaders for exporting companies on a temporary basis.
B. MOF has reinvigorated fishing communities across the nation by pursuing the so-called Fishing Communities New Deal 300 project.
MOF has carried out the so-called Fishing Communities New Deal 300 project to improve the backward infrastructures of fishing communities and revitalize fisheries industry therein. In addition, MOF has also laid a foundation to introduce a public-purpose support program to promote the conservation of fishery resources and the development of eco-friendly aquaculture.
MOF has made efforts to transform its fisheries industry to more eco-friendly and high-added value industry by implementing its Fisheries Innovation 2030 project—a ten-year plan to innovate national fisheries industry. Accordingly, exports of fish and fishery products recorded more than USD 2.3 billion a year.
C. MOF has advanced its system for the management of marine environment and maritime safety.
MOF has legislated the Act on the Development and Promotion of Eco-friendly Vessels and the Act on the Management of Marine Debris, laying an institutional and policy foundation to reduce marine plastics.
MOF has overhauled and significantly improved its management system of maritime safety by establishing Korea Maritime Transportation Safety Authority (KOMSA), enacting the Act on Safe Fishing by Fishing Vessels and laying the groundwork for maritime e-Navigation services.
D. MOF has strived to minimize damages the COVID-19 pandemic may cause to maritime and fisheries sectors in 2020.
With proactive implementation of quarantine measures and policy response, MOF has tried to ensure that the COVID-19 pandemic would not disrupt Korea’s international sea-born trade and would not spread from and at beach. As such, MOF has strived to minimize damages derived from COVID-19 pandemic to maritime and fisheries sectors.
To prepare itself for the post-COVID-19 era, MOF has incorporated its maritime and fisheries tasks in the Korean New Deal initiative and formulated strategic plans to undertake those tasks.
A. Supporting national economic turnaround by ensuring vibrant sea-borne trade and smooth recovery of the shipping industry
As it did last year, MOF will proactively support the deployment of extra-loaders in cooperation with national shipping companies to ensure that exporting companies in Korea can do their business smoothly through sea-borne trade.
National shipping companies will deploy more than two extra loaders a month to major shipping routes including the Trans-Pacific route until exports become stable, while allocating 50 percent of shipping capacity of the additional vessels to small and medium-sized exporting companies.
MOF will ensure that Import and Export Logistics Support Center provides more assistance to exporting companies, and will formulate and implement a Measure to Secure the Order in the Shipping Market within the first half of 2021 as part of efforts to eradicate unjust shipping practices including unfair collusive acts between shipping companies and shippers or/and among shipping companies.
As planned, MOF will implement its five-year plan to rebuild the shipping industry with a view to ensuring the national shipping sector goes beyond the level prior to the bankruptcy of Hanjin Shipping and takes a leap to become a global shipping powerhouse.
HMM will make sure that eight 16,000 TEU vessels be included in its fleet operating on major routes in the first half of 2021. By allowing shipping companies to lease vessels from financial institutions such as Korea Ocean Business Corporation (KOBC), MOF will help those companies to secure enough fleets at reasonable charter rates. KOBC will expand its guarantee businesses from the current guarantee for the acquisition of maritime and port-related assets such as vessels to cover credit guarantee and performance guarantee.
B. Regaining vitality in fisheries sector and fishing communities and achieving balanced-development of coastal areas
MOF will help national economy and fisheries industry regain their vitality by stimulating consumption of seafood and nurturing seafood industry.
To this end, MOF will undertake online and offline campaigns to boost seafood consumption such as the so-called Seafood Consumption Promotion Event, thereby making the household spend more on seafood. In order to promote direct sales of seafood to consumers, MOF will work to make amendments to the Act on Distribution and Management of Fishery Products.
MOF will start the construction of Jeollanam-do Seafood Cluster and newly plan to establish Busan Seafood Cluster to develop industry that can meet the current trends of seafood consumption in this untact economy.
MOF will implement the public-purpose support program for the first time in March this year. This program is expected to encourage the protection of fishery resources, the development of eco-friendly aquaculture and other relevant activities that can promote public values.
MOF will also make efforts to produce tangible results which the public can realize and feel from the implementation of Fishing Communities New Deal 300 project. MOF will ensure that social overhead capital for better living conditions is created in 57 places and construction is commenced in 120 places which were designated last year. MOF will formulate a strategy to disseminate the effects of revitalized fishing communities as a post-Fishing Communities New Deal 300 project.
C.Paving the Way for ‘Carbon Neutrality (net-zero GHG emissions)’ in maritime and fisheries sector and for ‘Marine Plastic Free Oceans’
With a view to achieving Carbon Neutrality (net-zero GHG emissions) in maritime and fisheries sectors by 2050, MOF will decarbonize shipping sector on a step-by-step approach and protect and restore coastal blue carbon habitats such as tidal flats.
In accordance with the so-called ‘2030 Green Ship-K Strategy’ formulated in December 2020, MOF plans to build or convert 528 ships (388 in the public sector and 140 in the private sector) into low-carbon ships such as LNG or hybrid powered by 2030, and will make efforts to develop zero-carbon ships such as hydrogen or ammonia powered ships.
In addition, MOF will continue to use blue carbon ecosystems such as tidal flats and marine forests and, in cooperation with Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), make efforts to build on techniques used for managing marine carbon sinks of greenhouse gases.
In order to protect the marine environment from ever increasing amount of plastic wastes since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, MOF will innovate its life-cycle approach to the management of marine plastics from the point of generation to that of collection, disposal and reuse. MOF sets a goal of reducing marine plastics by 30 percent and 50 percent by the year of 2022 and 2030 respectively compared to the current amount of 118,000 tons as of 2018.
MOF will promote the use of eco-friendly fishing gears and buoys and, based on the consensus to be made among fishermen, will phase in mandatory use of those gears and buoys in addition to the introduction of deposit refund system and real-name system.
D. Ensuring digital transformation in maritime and fisheries sectors and promoting the growth of innovative industries
MOF will start digital transformation in earnest in all areas across maritime and fisheries sectors, paying a special attention to areas reflected in the Korean New Deal initiative.
When it comes to shipping industry and ports, MOF will endeavor to develop core technologies to be used for autonomous vessels, pursue to designate a test bed for the operation of a smart port—an automated port that uses new technology such as big data and IoT to improve logistics efficiency and worker safety—at the Port of Gwangyang, and create a joint smart logistics center at the Ports of Incheon and Busan.
In fisheries sector, MOF will create five large-scale smart aquaculture clusters, establish cold chain system in seafood industry and develop smart technologies to keep freshness of seafood throughout the supply chain including processing to increase competitiveness of seafood industry.
By ensuring public access to maritime e-Navigation services, MOF will secure maritime safety through digital technology and endeavor to establish a big data platform in maritime and fisheries sectors.
MOF will strengthen its support system to grow innovative industries like marine biology industry.
To create business opportunities in marine biology industry, MOF will increase scientific knowledge on the effects that about 4,000 kinds of marine organisms have such as anti-virus and anti-aging effects. In addition, MOF will also establish enabling facilities to incubate marine biology industry in Seocheon and Wando.
MOF will take a life-cycle approach to identify, nurture and invest promising ventures and start-ups in maritime and fisheries sectors through a start-up contest, start-up accelerators and fund of funds (FoF).
E. Strengthening safety net and inclusiveness in maritime and fisheries sectors
MOF will step up its efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 infections through ports and derived from seafarers by enhancing cooperation among relevant port authorities and operating five government designated facilities exclusive for foreign seafarers. MOF will also improve the COVID-19 prevention and control system at beach with the aim of no infections cases taking place at the beach for two consecutive years.
MOF will conduct a vessel safety inspection targeting 800 fishing vessels and coastal vessels prone to accidents. In order to increase the safety of those vessels, MOF will strive to cut down the number of old coastal vessels.
MOF will increase the safety of fish and fishery products by integrating the quarantine of imported/exported aquatic organisms and the disease control of aquatic organisms under the mandate of National Fishery Products Quality Management Services (NFQS). With regard to contaminated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant, MOF will closely check possible radioactive contamination in the waters off the East and South Coasts, carry out a thorough inspection of fishery products at their production stage and beef up its inspection on the place of origin of those fishery products.
Besides, MOF will provide more support to ensure better working and living conditions of those who work onboard fishing and merchant vessels. In this regard, MOF will make efforts to integrate the work of the management of fishermen under its mandate, which is currently handled by two different ministries—the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries and the Ministry of Employment and Labor.
The Minister of Oceans and Fisheries Seong-Hyeok MOON said “2021 is an important year when we should pull ourselves together to help the national economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and return to normal life. At the same time, we need to work together to take a leap forward towards a new future and achieve inclusive growth. To this end, all members in the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries including myself will be committed to making sure that economic recovery and growth is underpinned by the maritime and fisheries sectors and to taking the sectors to the next level to serve as a driving engine for our sustainable future.”