South Korea eyes logistics project with North Korea and Russia
In a test run of a prospective logistics project with North Korea and Russia, South Korea plans to bring in 35,000 tonnes of Russian coal through the North Korean port of Rajin next month, a government official said this week.
The test run is part of the government's push to join the Rajin-Khasan logistics project, which links the North Korean port city, located in the northern tip of the country, to Russia's Trans-Siberian Railway.
Three South Korean firms; KORAIL, POSCO and Hyundai Merchant Marine, are currently working on a consortium to join the North Korea-Russia project.
Having conducted two onsite inspections of the Rajin port and the railroad between the port and the Russian city of Khasan, the local firms are now in negotiations with the Russian side with the aim of striking a deal by the end of this year, according to government sources.
Ryoo Kihl-jae, an official at the Korean Unification Ministry said: "About 35,000 tonnes of Russian coal will be shipped to the South Korean port of Pohang in November through the Rajin port as an experimental shipment. The government plans to provide necessary support for the firms' push for the project."
Referring to the test run, the Unification Ministry also said in a meeting of the unification preparation committee: "The previous two onsite inspections and feasibility tests may lead to an experimental shipment program sometime in November."
According to other government sources, the coal to be imported through the test run will be used by POSCO to manufacture steel.
A Russian or Chinese ship, not a South or North Korean one, may be used for the pilot shipment, according to the sources.
The South Korean government has been promoting South Korean firms' participation in the logistics project, which it views as closely linked to President Park Geun-hye's "Eurasian Initiative" a vision that calls for building more infrastructure and freeing up trade between Eurasian nations to create what could become a large single market rivaling the European Union.
During their summit meeting in Seoul in November 2013, President Park and her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin agreed to help the South Korean firms join the project, which would let them invest indirectly in the North.
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DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.