Korean port cities and coastal provinces are competing to become a hub for the Northern Sea Route (NSR), a new lane that is said to cut ship travel times now that the Arctic ice is thawing.
The new shipping lane connecting Europe to Korea through Siberia, is said to bring massive economic benefits for port cities due to the shorter trade routes.
Gangwon Province Governor Choi Moon-soon has predicted that the shipping and fishery industries will benefit hugely if the shorter trade route becomes a reality.
Recent research has indicated that the emerging maritime route would also cut 10 days off the traditional trade route connecting Rotterdam, the Netherlands to Busan, South Korea via the Suez Canal.
The southern port city of Busan seems to be unrivalled in its capacity to become a hub for the NSR.
However, provinces with smaller ports are competing to be the hub and have begun massive lobbying efforts to challenge Busan.
Local governments, including Gangwon Province, have lobbied the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries to consider designating their ports as hubs for the new sea lane.