Taiwan - Improving its position
The development and representation of the interests of the port of Taiwan on a private basis began with the establishment of the Taiwan International Ports Corporation two years ago. Time now to take stock on the expansion and marketing of the island’s ports.
Planning is everything. In Taiwan, which considers itself to be a logistics hub for freight transport in Asia, is currently developing a programme to improve its ports. It is scheduled to run until 2031. The government’s National Development Council (NDC) earmarked investments amounting to EUR 1.75 billion for this purpose for the current 2012–2016 period. The programme focuses on the four most important ports of the island, namely Kaohsiung, Taichung, Keelung and Hualien. Since it was established in 2012 the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) has been in charge of coordinating and implementing Taiwan’s port development programme, and also of finding suitable investment facilities abroad.
The TIPC celebrated its second anniversary on 1 March 2014 in a ceremony with its members. In addition to the major shipping lines Evergreen, Yang Ming, Wan Hai, OOCL and APL, the membership also includes logistics companies such as Chenergy Global and Tonglit Logistics.
The TIPC’s stocktaking for 2013 is satisfactory. Container handling in the ports came in at 14.5 million teu and it says that the freight volumes handled rose to 14.9 million t. The lion’s share was handled at Kaohsiung, with 9.94 million teu, +1.6% compared to 2012. The hub marginally failed to achieve the 10 million teu target set by the port authority, which has only ever been achieved in 2007. With the expansion of the Kaohsiung international container terminal, amongst other things, 19 deep-water quays are being planned in the port, with five docks and quays for hazardous petrochemical goods.
Opportunities and risks
In the port of Taichung, which handles about 1.4 million teu annually, the focus is on ro-ro traffic and machine exports. At Yongang the first and only unloading station for LNG on the island is being expanded in the port. Taiwan’s economic situation is quite stable at present. In the World Bank’s logistics performance index for 2014 the island maintained its 20th position, behind its regional competitors Singapore (4th), Japan (10th) and Hong Kong (15th). The island state had moved up one place in 2012.
One key to Taiwan’s further development can be found in Beijing. Since 2008, the island has concluded six agreements with the People’s Republic of China, including a framework agreement on economic cooperation. Since an official exchange took place in February, the political issues seem to present less of a hurdle. But it remains unclear whether Taiwan can become a member of the important US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership or of Asean’s planned extended RCEP free-trade agreement.