Asian-Pacific Rim Logistics

Asian-Pacific Rim Logistics

Global Context and Local Policies

Peter J. Rimmer

Encompassing China, Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia, extending to Australasia and connecting with South Asia, the Asian-Pacific Rim forms the world’s most dynamic economic region. Comprehending the region’s logistical structure and its institutions are of pivotal importance for businesses, researchers and policy-makers.

Chapter 8: South Korea

Peter J. Rimmer

Subjects: asian studies, asian economics, business and management, operations management, economics and finance, asian economics, regional economics, urban and regional studies, regional economics


Logistics in South Korea is very much a post-Korean War (1950–53) phenomenon. Times were so parlous after the end of the war that company workers used their own vehicles to make deliveries. Between 1960 and 1990 there was a shift in the balance from the local to the global arena stemming from the rapid transformation of an abject economy, which led to the greater use of road transport at the expense of rail and the emergence of logistics as a key issue. Over this period there was a progressive shift in the economy from having an agricultural base to becoming an industrial powerhouse featuring large national manufacturing corporations engaged in iron and steel production and shipbuilding, and exports of textiles, shoes, cars and nascent consumer electronics, notably household appliances and televisions. As a last resort for attaining market competitiveness, the emerging multinational industrial corporations sought cost reductions from efficient logistics and customer service improvements. During the 1990s the South Korean Government responded to the logistics needs of an increasing number of multinational manufacturing and retailing companies by seeking to provide the necessary infrastructure through investments in ports and freight terminals, as a means of expanding social overhead capital and encouraging a reverse shift from road to rail-based multimodal transport (Rimmer, 1995; KOTI-KSP, 2012). In 1992 the issue of the Seoul Metropolitan Region being 350 km from the country’s major deep-sea port of Busan was addressed.

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