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Taipei state aid to prop up liner operators

Taiwan’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said on 19 May 2020 that it has launched a TW$30 billion (US$1 billion) aid package aimed, in part, at easing the financial strain on Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation (YM) and Evergreen Marine Corporation (EMC).

Many businesses have been suffering amid the Covid-19 pandemic, which has slashed demand and disrupted supply chains. In particular, YM and EMC suffered Q1 losses, and YM, which is part-government owned, has found profitability elusive in recent years.

The funds will be disbursed through government loans, which will have a credit guarantee of at least 80% and low interest rates.

Taiwan’s government appears to be focusing on the country’s largest container carriers after its approval of a TW$16.85 billion (US$560.96 million) relief package for travel and aviation in March: including TW$4.2 billion in support for Taiwan’s, two largest carriers, China Airlines and EVA Airways (Evergreen’s affiliate).

The MOTC said that prior to developing the aid package for the shipping industry, the minister for transport and communications, Lin Chia-lung, the ministry’s head of the aviation and navigation department, Yeh Hsieh-lung and Maritime Port Bureau chief Kuo Tien-kuei , had met with the respective YM and EMC executives, Bronson Hsieh and Anchor Chang. The government officials sought the opinions of Hsieh and Chang regarding the execution of the aid package and the shipping industry’s future growth.

Underlining the importance of the transport sector, Minister Lin said, “To maintain Taiwan’s economic growth and people’s livelihood, MOTC will fully support the shipping industry through the pandemic, to stabilise the confidence of international customers in Taiwan’s shipping industry, and at the same time, meet the industry’s need to maintain working capital.”

Evergreen and Yang Ming are the seventh and eighth largest container lines in the world, respectively. It is estimated that they support as many as 440,000 jobs in Taiwan.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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