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Meeting a Living Witness of the Company’s Growth

Senior Executive Director of Shipping Business Group, Kim Taewoo

As one of the founding members of the company and a living witness of the growth of the automobile carrier division,
Senior Executive Director Kim Taewoo has seen both the birth and growth of Hyundai Glovis with his very own eyes.
We asked him about the beginnings and subsequent progress of our company.
Photo. Communications Team

Q. First of all, can we ask you for a congratulatory message on the 20th anniversary of Hyundai Glovis?

As someone who has been with the company since the very first day, I feel honored to still be with the company after 20 years' service. I would therefore like to convey my congratulations to Hyundai Glovis on making steady progress and expanding the business for 20 years! I would like to congratulate all of us executives and employees on the dedication and hard work over all these years.

Q. As a living witness of Hyundai Glovis’s history, you must be familiar with the company's early days. I am curious about the working conditions and environment at that time

We started as a really small office on Wonhyo-ro. There were only a few teams, so we knew each other like family. I strived to grow the business from various aspects, but at first I made a lot of mistakes and it was difficult to get recognition from business partners.

Q. What has changed the most since you first started?

Definitely, I would say, it is the overseas business that has grown beyond my imagination. As the business expanded, the organization also grew to a point, where an employee would not know someone from a different business division. The fact that each business division has developed its own system, and everything is operated by such systems, seems to be the biggest difference. In the early days, things were mostly done by hand.

Q. You concentrated on fostering the automobile carrier business among the other sectors in Hyundai Glovis. What changes and growth have you seen in the automobile business?

The automobile carrier was the core business of our company at the time of establishment, accounting for 80% of the first year's business plans. The automobile carrier business is a representative B2B, which has the characteristics of a bilateral oligopoly market. The global car makers had been doing business with domestic shipping companies for a long time, then around 2015, there was a worldwide reorganization in the structure, and we were given an opportunity. Hyundai Glovis thus plans to aggressively expand its business to transport more vehicles in 2021 than the previous year, and to increase the proportion of freights of non-affiliated companies.

Q. Then, how do you see the future of Hyundai Glovis, in line with the future of the automobile carrier business?

Shipping Business Group, as it has been, will continue to grow ─ focusing on non-affiliates. This is a very challenging task, but I think it can be achieved if we can secure some big contracts this year.

Keeping in mind the limitations of growth, we are also preparing new growth engines and planning to expand our businesses by targeting a niche market that can create synergy with logistics. In terms of bulk carriers, we will continue to acquire tankers to secure long-term and stable profits.

We expect that continued growth in maritime transportation will create synergies with logistics, which is currently spurring expansion in overseas third-party logistics, and ultimately result in the growth of comprehensive logistics and shipping. In particular, the field where the biggest growth is expected is the distribution sector. If we can create future business by developing new resources in addition to the continued expansion of our existing business, I think we will be able to become one of the five leading companies in Korea by the 30th anniversary.

Q. Among the 20 years of achievements of Hyundai Glovis, what do you think is the most meaningful and important at the corporate level?

I think the fact that we have competent and talented individuals in each business sector is one of our biggest achievements and greatest assets. We have also developed various systems, which have become tools that help carry out business processes. In addition, seeing the carriers traveling around the world and global organizations, buildings, machinery, and equipment located on almost every continent, representing, have been a meaningful experience for me.

Another big achievement is the successful completion of numerous overseas factories, starting with the HMMA of Hyundai-KIA, over a short period of time. The remarkable success of Hyundai-KIA was based on the efforts of employees working in KD, C/C, forwarding, procurement logistics, and VPC, who have effectively dealt with countless issues and problems day and night.

Q. What is your proudest moment at work?

I remember back in 2006, offshore of Japan, a large octopus wound up the propeller of Company A's container ship, overheating the engine and making it inoperable. About 150 of our containers were on board of that ship, of which 20% could not to be delayed.

Company A said that it would tow a ship to Japan, but we suggested that we could transship the containers to Company B's ship, which would depart from Japan and go to Long Beach. Fortunately, we were able to catch one of Company B's ships on time and safely transport the containers to Long Beach. They even arrived a week earlier than the original schedule. I remember that customers thanked us, saying they were so impressed by Hyundai Glovis' dedicated service.

Q. On the other hand, what was your most challenging or difficult moment?

The toughest moment was in August 2005, when Hurricane Katrina flipped the Port of Mobile upside down. The damage from wind and a tsunami was enormous at that time. I was in Atlanta with my family for the weekend just before Katrina and the way back to Mobile was really rough. I went to the pier the next day and found the ground full of mud and the containers were either lost or overturned.

I had to deal with the accident by myself and those three months were the hardest time for me, both physically and mentally. It was stressful to supervise on-site work at the pier, while responding to customer requests and coming up with future measures. I was really glad to be returning to Korea, where I did not have to work alone! As we were still setting up the infrastructure for the overseas subsidiary at the time, I felt very lonely doing everything by myself.

Q. Are there any colleagues that you would specially like to thank?

Jan Beasley gave us an opportunity to start providing the procurement and transportation service to overseas factories with which we had no previous contact. Stan Winter had an amazing group of employees who coordinated tasks and created a forwarding system. Sharon Choi was always busy wrestling with shipping companies and responding to team trucking. Manager Shin Ji-eun was very diligent in preventing container detention and getting the detention charge back. I remember all of them who helped us a great deal.

Even after returning to Korea, there were so many colleagues that I am grateful to have overcome. In particular, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the employees who believed in the future of our company and worked together when it was difficult to develop a system to prepare for the automobile carrier business. Lastly, the current team leaders have been the top supporters and contributors of our business that I cannot thank enough.

Q. Do you have any advice for junior employees, as a senior, regarding the company life?

When asked such a question, I always say the same thing. When you are a manager, focus on the work and improve something even if it's a small thing. Then, when you become a senior manager, you will have a broader and more positive view of your work, and you can become a problem-solver who communicates well with people around you.

In terms of daily life, I also want you to know this ─ working can be a long struggle, so it is often boring and exhausting. I would like to advise that if you do something that you like, whether it's your hobbies or anything else in your leisure time, positive energy is generated and it will give you the strength to push through at work.


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