Ten years ago, on March 1st, 2012, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) consolidated the nation’s four Harbor Bureaus into a single, national port authority, the new Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC), and further consolidated the former Harbor Bureaus’ regulatory and supervisory responsibilities under another new organization, the Maritime and Port Bureau (MOTC/MPB). The goal of this major reorganization effort was to raise the international competitiveness and improve the operational effectiveness of the nation’s maritime shipping and port sectors. For the past decade, TIPC has significantly improved operations and services at all of its subsidiary ports, promoting sustained shipping and port sector development as well as local economic growth. TIPC subsidiary ports have continued to set all-time records in terms of both handled volume and value, and TIPC’s brilliant track record reflects well on the decisions, investments, and efforts made over the past decade.
The past ten years have been fraught with challenges both international and domestic. The 2016 wave of consolidations and alliances among the world’s largest shipping companies, the still-unfolding U.S.-China trade war, and the recent COVID-19 pandemic have severely disrupted both supply chains and shipping schedules. Taking measures to bolster resilience against these and other challenges while steadily improving / refining port hard and soft infrastructures, TIPC was able to again set new all-time records in 2021, with 15.45 million TEU in container volume handled and NT$20.8 billion in earnings for the year.
TIPC has set many milestones over the years. In terms of core port businesses, Port of Kaohsiung was certified as a London Metal Exchange (LME) delivery port in 2013; welcomed the maiden visit of the world’s largest container ship, the 18,000TEU CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, in 2016; and has completed road infrastructure critical to streamlining the port’s connection to Taiwan’s main north-south freeways. Other key infrastructure projects include new road construction linking Port of Keelung’s eastern and western wharf districts directly into the national highway grid, new land reclamation and development at Taipei Port, the installation of heavy cargo wharves at Port of Taichung for offshore wind farm development and support, and the current construction of Phase Two of the Port of Kaohsiung Intercontinental Container Terminal (ICT). The latter will be completed in stages over the coming two years and transferred to Evergreen Marine. ICT Phase 2 will give Port of Kaohsiung an additional 4.5 million TEU in handling capacity, providing a powerful tool to achieve future business volume and value growth goals.
In terms of waterfront tourism, TIPC has worked closely with local governments and private companies to transform existing port assets into new tourism / recreational business opportunities. Cornerstone examples of this include the greenfield construction and 2018 opening of Mitsui Outlet Park at Port of Taichung; the renovation and 2018 opening of Port of Kaohsiung’s KW2 retail plaza; the construction and 2020 opening of Taiwan’s largest swing bridge, Great Harbor Bridge, in Kaohsiung; and the successful leasing to private-sector operators in 2021 of new yacht marina and integrated waterfront tourism and leisure facilities at Anping Port. Other TIPC ports in Keelung, Suao, and Hualien are also currently developing waterfront tourism infrastructures, underscoring TIPC’s overall commitment to maximizing the inherent tourism / recreational potential of its international commercial ports.
In terms of business diversification, TIPC has over the past decade created seven new spinoff companies in sectors covering harbor services, logistics, land development, offshore windfarm personnel training, and components shipping. Moreover, TIPC is working together with partner firms to develop overseas markets in line with the national New Southbound Policy. Also, in response to global smart-port development trends, TIPC in 2018 launched the Trans-SMART Plan to infuse competitive new technology applications into TIPC ports going forward.
Beyond bolstering its core businesses, TIPC prioritizes the maintenance and improvement of the environment at its subsidiary ports, as demonstrated by the certification of all of Taiwan’s international commercial ports under the global EcoPorts environmental initiative. Of particular note, Port of Kaohsiung in 2021 earned the 2021 International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) WPSP award for Resilient Physical Infrastructure.
To celebrate 10 years of excellence, TIPC and MOTC/MPB is launching the online “Decade Heard Round the World” activity today (March 1st). Today at noon, TIPC’s Facebook fan page will premier the official introduction to the highlights of TIPC’s past decade as well as present TIPC’s decade of major accomplishments in immersive VR technology to promote awareness of Taiwan’s continued significant growth in maritime shipping. Watch the 10th anniversary video on either TIPC or MOTC/MPB’s Facebook page any time before March 31st and enter the drawing to win a new iPhone 13, AirPods, or other exciting gifts!