Insight – Reports of congestion at Busan New Port, Republic of Korea

Republic of Korea (ROK) media outlets are reporting large stockpiles of shipping containers at Busan New Port (ROK’s largest sea port), leading to freight delays and port congestion. While seemingly connected to global freight issues (disrupted schedules, container shortages), industry contacts report that COVID-19 impacts on port and transport workforces in Korea is exacerbating congestion.

What exporters should do

Exporters to ROK should factor in potential delays – especially for time critical shipments where delays might lead to importing disputes, or inadvertently attract higher tariffs when seasonal tariff windows end.


Additional information about the Korean market is available on the Austrade website.

Market overview:

  • ROK imported US$37 billion of agriculture, forestry and fisheries (AFF) products in 2019 (UN Comtrade 2021).
  • ROK’s main AFF imports are meat, fish and grains.
  • ROK is Australia’s fourth-largest AFF market, worth an average of A$3.1 billion per year between 2018 and 2020 (ABS 2021).
  • Australia’s largest exports to Korea are meat and grains.