By Kang Yoon-seung
SEOUL, May 5 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's agricultural ministry said Wednesday it has operated 88 chartered flights to Singapore since December last year to help local strawberry farmers facing troubles in shipping their produce amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
Through the agreement with Korean Air Lines Co., South Korea operated four chartered flights a week to carry a total of 958 tons of strawberries to the Southeast Asian country over the December-April period, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
In terms of value, the amount shipped reached US$15.2 million, up 21 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The move came as South Korean exporters have been suffering from tight shipping services coupled with escalating freight costs, in line with the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Singapore is the second-largest export destination of strawberries for South Korea. In 2019, the country shipped 1,421 tons of berries worth US$13.7 million, according to the Korea Agro-Fisheries & Food Trade Corp.
South Korea said it will continue to penetrate deeper into other Asian markets as well, including Hong Kong, Thailand and Vietnam.