The government-operated Taiwan International Ports Corp. hopes to spark investment momentum by pouring about NT$66 billion within five years into the building of international cruise terminals in Keelung and Kaohsiung as well as other construction at the island’s harbors, all with the aim of providing for the development of the passenger-ship and tourism businesses and forming Taiwan into a marine shipping hub for the Asia-Pacific region.
TIPC notes that the goal of this plan is to extend the economic hinterland of the island’s ports and build Taiwan’s harbors into full-service valueadded logistics ports that achieve the twin targets of adding value and increasing volume. Completion of the five-year plan will boost Taiwan’s container-handling capacity to 18 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and increase overall revenue to more than NT$30 billion. The transshipment ratio at Kaohsiung Harbor will rise from 47% to above 50%.
Kaohsiung’s container volume once ranked 3rd in the world, but last year dropped to 12th; the harbor’s transshipment ratio once reached 53%, but with the emergence of harbors in mainland China it is now down to just 47%.
TIPC’s plans for construction or reconstruction at eight of Taiwan’s commercial harbors include the rebuilding of the self-operated container terminal on the west bank and development of a passenger/tourist commercial area on the east bank of Keelung Harbor, the construction of four new logistics warehouses and development of South Star and Cianjhen logistics parks at Kaohsiung Harbor, and the construction of access roads to expand the port areas at Keelung and Kaohsiung.
The Intercontinental Container Terminal phase II construction at Kaohsiung will be carried out on the build-operate-transfer (BOT) model, possibly with the participation of investment from mainland China.
For the development of the passenger and tourism businesses, TIPC plans to invest NT$4 billion and NT$6.3 billion, respectively, in the construction of passenger terminals at Kaohsiung and Keelung. This will create international cruise centers and remold Taiwan’s image as a gateway for marine transportation. This plan will boost the number of marine passengers visiting Taiwan annually to a projected 1.3 million and stimulate a vogue for marine tourism.
To finance the plan’s NT$66 billion cost, TIPC will raise NT$28.4 billion itself, NT$36.3 billion will come from the Boat Harbor Development Fund, and the central government will provide a subsidy of NT$1.2 billion.
Yeh Kuang-Shih, deputy minister of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, notes that TIPC’s diversified operation gives it plenty of space for development, and that in the future it can emulate the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) by establishing a logistics subsidiary to develop a global logistics business by investing in overseas ports and wharves, operating public warehouses, and attracting domestic and foreign logistics companies to move in.
Press Release, October 25, 2012; Image: IAPH