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Korea aims to surpass Norway as world's fifth largest shipping fleet by 2010

Korea aims to surpass Norway as world's fifth largest shipping fleet by 2010

Seoul: South Korea expects to become the fifth-largest shipping power in the world by 2010 as specialized funds and tax benefits help local companies expand their fleets, the government said yesterday. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs said as of 2007 South Korea ranked sixth with 36.80 million deadweight tons (DWT) of registered ships. Greece topped the list with 175.70 million DTWs of registered ships, followed by Japan, Germany, China and Norway.
"As of May, local shipping companies have ordered 22.00 million DWTs of ships that will be delivered in the coming years, which should be sufficient to push up South Korea's overall ranking by at least one notch," said a government official.
He said there has been a 20 percent annual gain in ships in recent years.
The expert said the move by local shipping companies to pay tonnage taxes instead of corporate income taxes starting in 2004-2005 helped increase the size of vessels operated. This move has helped companies cut ship operation taxes by up to 60 percent.
Companies have also started to make use of shipping funds that allow companies to purchase vessels using money collected by investors. The investors are given set tax breaks for their investments.
The rise in the rankings is in contrast to South Korea's overall standing in 1998 when it failed to make the top 10.
The ministry said efforts are currently underway to help shipping companies expand business areas that are vital for sustained growth.
It said shipping companies are to receive assistance in such areas as taking over foreign terminals and logistics companies. Seoul also wants to bolster local development of dedicated vessel support companies that can help reduce operational costs.  [23/5/08]

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