New Flagship Ferry Scheduled to Ply the Budai-Penghu Route this Season; TIPC Continues to Improve the Operating Environment for Ferries at Taiwan Ports
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Port of Kaohsiung,Taiwan International Ports Corporation,Ltd.
The highly popular Budai (Chiayi) – Penghu ferry route will get a dramatic upgrade this year with the addition of “Snow Leopard” to regular route service. The brand-new passenger ferry Snow Leopard, custom built for the Pescadores Ferry Co., is set to replace the 36.3m-long, 198-ton, 180-passenger “Pescadores”.
Bullish about the growing tourism and recreation interest in Budai Port, the port’s main ferry operator made the critical decision to invest the NT$500,000 necessary to custom build a new 50m-long, 899-ton, 550-passenger ferry in order to better handle the expected future demand. When delivered in March of this year, Snow Leopard will be the largest-capacity ferry on the Budai – Penghu route and take its place as the flagship passenger ferry of this year’s season.
Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) notes that domestic tourism to Taiwan’s offshore islands and ‘blue-highway’ tourism have both seen steady growth in recent years. The relative short distance between Budai Port in Chiayi County and the Penghu Archipelago’s main town of Magong have led to steadily increasing passenger numbers on this route. Over the past 3 years (2016-2018), the number of ferries regularly plying the Budai – Penghu route has risen to nine. Looking to continuously improve service quality, ferry operators are continuing to purchase new vessels for this route. It is hoped that these larger, faster ferries will pave the way forward to even larger passenger numbers and provide greater choice to vacationers.
Apart from assisting the smooth addition of new ferries to this route and arranging suitable berth space, TIPC annually dredges Budai Port channels and continues to upgrade both hardware and software infrastructures. Examples of the latter include the scheduled completion of expansion work on the Budai Port small-craft channel in May of this year and the refurbishing of the port’s passenger services center, scheduled for completion in May of 2020.