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Port of Seattle and Busan Port Authority Renew Sister Port Agreement After 42 Years

November 29, 2023

Port of Seattle Commission President Sam Cho and Busan Port Authority President & CEO Joon-suk Kang marked 42 years of trade and cooperation by reaffirming their sister port agreement at the 11th Annual Busan International Port Conference on November 28.   

The Port of Seattle and Port of Busan entered into the original sister port agreement in June of 1981. In 2003, the Port of Busan was reformed to become the Busan Port Authority. The renewal of the sister port agreement between the two ports comes on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Busan Port Authority.

“When Busan and Seattle became sister ports in 1981, the world was very different,” explained Port of Seattle Commission President Sam Cho. “At the time, South Korea was still a developing nation learning from its Western counterparts. In 42 years, the Port of Busan has become a world-class trade hub and seventh-largest port in the world. As we look toward building a port of the future, we can learn from the Port of Busan’s innovation and rapid growth. The renewal of our sister port agreement will lead to an exchange of technology and best practices. As the son of immigrants from South Korea, it is an honor to represent the Port of Seattle in our recommitment to this historic relationship.”

“This agreement is to strengthen mutual friendship and the collaboration between two ports in decarbonization and digitalization,” said Joon-Suk Kang, President and CEO of the Busan Port Authority. “The two ports face many challenges, including decarbonization, digitization, and port safety: I am confident that if our two ports collaborate through information and knowledge sharing, and human exchange on these common challenges, we can create tremendous synergy.”

The Ports of Busan and Seattle share a commitment to increasing efficiency through technology, equipment, and process improvement. The ports also share a commitment to sustainability. The Port of Busan and the Northwest Seaport Alliance are currently engaged in a feasibility study for a green cargo shipping corridor announced last year at the COP 27 climate change conference in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. The Port of Seattle is also a first mover in an effort to explore the feasibility of a cruise green corridor from the Pacific Northwest to Alaska. 

“Port level collaboration is essential for solving global challenges, especially the decarbonization work we are doing today,” said Steven P. Metruck, Executive Director of the Port of Seattle. “Sister port relationships are key to that collaboration strategy. They allow us to develop trusted relationships over time where we can share best practices and innovative ideas.” 

The United States and South Korea continue to be strong economic trading partners, with over $224.4 billion in U.S. dollars of trade in 2022. South Korea is the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s fourth-largest trading partner, with over $6 billion USD of imports and exports. The Port of Busan is the Northwest Seaport Alliance’s sixth-largest import port trading partner, and third-largest export trading partner as of 2022.


Peter McGraw | Port of Seattle Senior Media Officer 
(206) 787-3446 |

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