Day 12: Busan, the City and the Sea

May 15, 2019

Our first day full day in Busan was an eventful one. A quick bus ride downtown led us to our the first of two company visits: Trainor. Specializing in engineering and technician safety, Trainor works with companies across the country to certify professionals. We spoke with the leader of their Busan operation, Henrique.

Like us, he’s not exactly from Korea. Born and raised in Sweden, Henrique worked most of his professional career at the Norwegian headquarters for the company. Now stationed in Busan, he outlined some of the challenges he faces in his new environment. According to his experience, the culture around worker certification is completely different in Asia. While companies in the US and Europe would likely pay for their workers to be properly trained, much of the certification is covered out of pocket by individuals looking to gain a competitive advantage in the Asian industries. Cheating and enforcement of the rules is also an issue. Henrique told us his biggest challenge moving forward is finding a better way to ensure that those going through the process are more focused on safety than just “passing a test”.

In the afternoon, we visited the Busan New Container Terminal. To be honest, I wasn’t too excited about this one going in. Surface level research led me to believe that BNCT was just another port with a relatively boring operation. Boy was I wrong! The operation is anything but boring. We spoke with the man in charge of the whole operation, and he went into extraordinary detail about the optimization of container storage and transportation. The whole site was one big smart system in action, working with very little human intervention. Outside of a few man-driven trucks, every technology was self-sufficient. Of all the sites we’ve visited so far, I’d have to say that this was my favorite company.

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