Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced on 2 June that it has disbursed loans of TW$16.5 billion (US$550 million) to the shipping industry to offset the effects of the decline in economic activity caused by Covid-19 crisis.
The announcement of government backed loans was first made on 19 May, and, without naming the borrowers, MOTC said three shipping companies had conveyed the need for funding. The loan approval came after the transport minister, Lin Chia-lung, met the respective heads of Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation and Evergreen Marine Corporation, Bronson Hsieh and Anchor Chang, last month.
The loan quantum was determined on 1 June by a working group, comprising accounting, finance and legal experts, which was headed by deputy transport minister Wang Kuo-tsai.
MOTC said that the loan will have low interest rates and is intended to give a lifeline to the shipping industry, maintaining its operations and competitiveness while securing the confidence of international customers.
The ministry said that although Covid-19 has not affected the shipping industry to the same extent as the aviation industry, the effects will continue to be felt over the medium to long term.
As a result, at the March initiation of President Tsai Ying-Wen and Premier Su Tseng-Chang, the Maritime Port Bureau launched the Shipping Industry Rescue 2.0 plan, which will see the Maritime Port Bureau’s port construction fund provide credit guarantees for the loan, as well as subsidised aggregate interest of TW$243 million for a year.
Lin said that Taiwan, being an island nation, depends on shipping and aviation to support its economy.
Government will continue to review the rescue measures in accordance with how the Covid-19 situation develops, in support of the shipping industry.