Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) Chairman Hsien-yi Lee remarked on January 14th that his company will be implementing comprehensive plans to add further value to TIPC subsidiary ports, continue the strategic diversification of port business operations, and create long-term operational sustainability. These efforts are being guided by TIPC’s strategic pillars of Excellence in Core Business Areas, Diverse Development, Resource Vitalization, and Smart Transformation.
Chairman Lee continued, stating that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to declines in both passenger and cargo business volumes at subsidiary ports during 2020. In response, TIPC has both worked with the Executive Yuan to provide relief support to port businesses and made strategic new investments in its own core businesses, looking to emerge even stronger and more competitive after the pandemic. In terms of its passenger business, construction on the new Port of Kaohsiung Passenger Terminal is scheduled to finish up around the end of this year (2021) and formally open for business in 2022. The all-new terminal facility is designed to handle the world’s largest cruise ships, up to the 220,000GT class. In terms of its cargo business, after signing a sublease agreement with Evergreen Marine on Port of Kaohsiung’s flagship infrastructure project, the 7th Container Terminal, TIPC is stepping up its work on the terminal, with a staged transfer of terminal facilities to Evergreen scheduled to begin next year (2022). Furthermore, in 2020, TIPC signed a new lease agreement with Wan Hai Lines that will shift its Kaohsiung operations to the 5th Container Terminal. In the future, in addition to working closely with Evergreen Marine to transform the 7th Container Terminal into Taiwan’s most-advanced, automated harbor facility, Wan Hai’s move will further streamline container-handling logistics at the port and significantly boost Port of Kaohsiung’s container handling capacity.
Chairman Lee further remarked that to achieve business goals related to sustainability and diversification, in addition to shoring up core business areas, TIPC is actively focusing on diversifying business development in each of its subsidiary operations. One example is provided by TIPC’s practical support of the government’s green-energy offshore wind-power initiative. Work on specialized wharves and facilities to support the development and maintenance of offshore wind farms is ongoing, with several wharves already in use by offshore wind farm development companies. Furthermore, over 250ha of land has been made available at Taipei Port and Anping Port for wind-turbine components manufacturing and assembly.
To further enable wind-farm development activities and facilitate the needs and business opportunities associated with wind-farm support logistics, TIPC’s spinoff TIWTC has organized and held regular wind-farm-related professional training courses; TIPC’s soon-to-be-launched wholly owned subsidiary TIPC Marine (TIPM) will operate related workboats; and TIPH, a TIPC - Taiwan CY Corp. joint venture launched at the end of 2020, is gearing up to provide shipping-support services for large wind-turbine components.
In terms of overseas investment activity, TIPC, in support of Taiwan’s ‘new southbound policy’ initiative and in line with the rising importance of Southeast Asia in the global supply chain, has already made several strategic investments in Southeast Asia. These include the respective launches in 2018 of the container-yard operator PT Formosa Sejati Logistics in Indonesia and Taiwan Foundation International Pte. Their efforts to develop the potential of ports, terminals, logistics, and yards in the region are already bearing fruit. In October of last year (2020), Jambatan Merah Formosa Depot Sdn., a venture joining TIPC, Port Klang (Malaysia), and related private businesses, was founded to provide inland container storage and container cleaning and repair services. TIPC will continue to prioritize Southeast Asia in future overseas investment decision making and leverage its private-sector expertise and experience and tightly integrated network of shipping routes to expand into and partner with new southbound policy markets.
With regard to the continuing trend of integrating Taiwan’s commercial ports into their adjacent urban communities, Chairman Lee noted that this issue is now an important consideration in all port development decision-making activities. This, he emphasized, is a key reason for Resource Vitalization’s inclusion as one of TIPC’s strategic pillars. Key related projects this year include requests for bids for businesses interested in setting up operations in Port of Keelung’s West Passenger Terminal, in operating the new marina (wharves 20A & 20B) along the north side of the Mitsui Outlet Park in the Port of Taichung, in setting up operations in the soon-to-be-completed passenger terminal building, and in operating in Anping Port’s integrated waterside tourism & recreation zone. TIPC looks forward to the success of private company operations in these endeavors spurring further prosperous development for both TIPC ports and their cities.
The importance of promoting the smart transformation of TIPC subsidiary ports was the final focus of Chairman Lee’s comments. He commented that to keep TIPC in step with advancing technologies, the company launched the Trans-SMART program in 2018 and, in August 2020 targeted ‘implementing smart infrastructure’, ‘conducting value-added operational data confluence analysis’, and ‘running site tests of new technology applications’ to facilitate progress in workplace safety, client-centered service, operational efficiency, and business value. 5G, AI, IoT, and big data technologies will be deployed to further streamline port operations with the goal of transforming TIPC’s ports into smart operations that are exceptionally safe, efficient, and sustainable.
Chairman Lee wrapped up saying that the four strategic pillars will help TIPC effectively solidify its core competencies and transform its operations. TIPC will continue to implement new operational upgrades and soft/hardware improvements in support of national policy priorities and industry needs. Furthermore, TIPC will continue to discuss and confer with all stakeholders and work with public and private organizations to create solutions that deliver superior integrative benefits and strengthen national competitiveness.