South Korea

Information about transport South Korea

Many of our shipments go to and from Asia. Besides China, South Korea is also a frequently visited country.
TCI Carriers can offer the following services for all your shipments (export, import, cross trades and the preparation of customs documents):

  • Sea Freight – LCL shipments
  • Sea Freight – FCL shipments
  • Air Freight

The major trading cities in South Korea are:

  • Busan (Pusan)
  • Seoul
  • Incheon

Required transport documents for export and import South Korea

  • Commercial invoice: Customs clearance of goods requires an invoice in triplicate. It must be written in English, Chinese or Korean.
  • Origin declaration (invoice declaration): Goods originating in the EU may be imported at a preferential rate under the free trade agreement between South Korea and the European Union. To qualify for the preferential rates, an origin declaration on the invoice (or any other commercial document) is required
  • Certificates of origin: Certificates of origin are not required unless specifically requested by the importer. A certificate of origin can be requested at the Chamber of Commerce.
  • Transport documents: B/L or Air Waybill
  • Packing lists: The packing list must be submitted in duplicate. It contains information about the content, dimensions and weight of the package(s).
  • Single Administrative Document: The Single Administrative Document (SAD) is a standard form for, inter alia, declaring exports with the customs. We can digitally submit the declaration on your behalf.
  • Other documents
    Insurance Certificate: If the foreign supplier is responsible for transport insurance, an insurance certificate may be requested.
    Pro forma invoice: The Korean importer may request a pro forma invoice in order to apply for an import licence and to open a letter of credit.

PLEASE NOTE: The required documents may be subject to change. We recommend that you contact your representative prior to shipping in order to check the proper documents.

Source: National Entrepreneurs Office (RvO).

South Korea Facts & Figures

South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea, is a country in Northeast Asia on the southern part of the Korean Peninsula, which became officially known as the Republic of Korea following the division of the country Korea in 1945.


South Korea’s economy

Since the sixties of the last century, South Korea’s economy has been transformed from an agricultural to an industrial manufacturing industry with a large tertiary sector. The population migrated from the country to the industrial centres As a result, the South Korean population is currently concentrated in the cities; more than 85% live in urban agglomerations, particularly in and around Seoul, Busan and Daegu.

In the sixties, South Korea started its economic rise. In forty years, the country transformed from an agricultural society devastated by a civil war into an industrialised society.

In the 80s and 90s of the twentieth century the land was known as one of the Four Asian Tigers: four countries in Southeast Asia that experienced rapid and significant economic growth. This growth came to an end before the turn of the century. Nevertheless, the South Korean economy remained one of the largest in Asia and they also play an important role at a global level. South Korea is a major producer of high tech goods, and the steel sector, shipbuilding, automotive industry and production of electronic goods also ensure that South Korea continues to be a major player on the international market.

(source: Wikipedia)

Cargo regulations in South Korea

  1. Both importer & exporter need a business licence for their goods to process through Customs in Korea.
  1. All cargo must have CLEAR original marks on the commodity when imported to Korea, such as: Made in China.
  1. All electronic products or products with plugs, battery, etc will require “KC” certificates when imported to Korea.
  1. All food commodity imports to Korea require food quarantine (original), ingredient content manufacturing process flow which includes commodities such as cup, bowl, tableware, etc.
  1. All shipments import to Korea must have an EDI submission (buyer tax number) minimum 24 hours prior to ETA Korea or a penalty may be incurred.
  1. Road Limitation within Korea 20’Dry : 18.0 MT cargo weight 40’Dry : 23.0 MT cargo weight 45’Dry : 22.0 MT cargo weight 20’RF : 17.5 MT cargo weight 40’RF : 22.0 MT cargo weight
    The weight of the truck, trailer, container tare, and cargo must not exceed 40.0 MT. The pressure on each axle must not exceed  10.0 MT. Height: Limitation is 4.20 meters on the road and 3 meters by rail (OOG-pieces up to 4.5 meters might be allowed depending on route to factory location) Length: Limitation is 19 meters.
    If overweight or special cargo, please discuss with your handling agent in Korea prior to the movement of cargo.
  1. Basic documents for export or import in Korea, copy of the business license, packing list, invoice.
  1. FTA: Free trade agreement, Certificate of Origin may reduce duty rates in Korea.
  1. Korean rate of VAT is 10% (CIF+duty)
  1. If exhibition cargo, sports game, concert cargo will require an original ATA carnet.
  1. For return cargo or re-sell cargo, when arrived in Korea, without the original consignee’s approval, nothing can be changed in Korea.
  1. Copy products are subject to seizure by Customs of Korea.
  1. Undervalued commercial invoices will cause customs inspection and re-value by Customs or penalty.
  1. For the FTA Korea & China, not including Hong Kong and Macao, POL must be mainland ports of China.
  1. New company, first time import or export to / from Korea are all subject to customs inspections.
  1. Companies that have had a record of Customs inspections, will have all further import or export cargoes inspection until they have a clean record of inspections.
  1. Cars (NEW or USED) is classed as DG cargo in Korea.
  1. Normal customs declarations take between 1-5 hours in Korea.
  1. No free time storage applicable for LCL cargo arriving in Korea. Warehouse fees are based upon the cargo value. if your cargo value is high and not volume cargo, please use airfreight to Korea.
  1. Air cargo only arrives Incheon (ICN) airport.
  1. DG cargos transit the seaports of Busan or Ulsan.

More information about Seafreight and Airfreight

Visit our activities page on seafreight of take a look at our activities page on airfreight and contact us