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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Taiwan agencies accuse port corporation of favouritism

Fifteen trade associations, representing shippers, ship agencies, and container transporters, have accused Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) of favouring Kaohsiung port by providing various discounts and incentives.

In a letter signed by 15 parties, the group said the incentives discouraged other ports, such as Keelung and Taichung, from being used, and placed unnecessary cost pressures on their members.

The signatories, which are based in Keelung, Taichung and Hualien, said TIPC’s actions went against the spirit of fair trading and requested rectification.

For example, in 2018, shippers were given bonus incentives of TW$300 (US$9.82)/TEU for transhipping through Kaohsiung and other Taiwanese ports, if their volume exceeded that of the previous year. These bonus incentives went up to TW$400 (US$13.31) in 2019 and TW$500 (US$16.96) in 2020, but only for transhipping through Kaohsiung, while incentives remained unchanged in other Taiwanese ports.

Terminal operators in Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s busiest container port, are also given incentives of TW$100 (US$3.39) per container if they handle more boxes in 2020 than in 2019. Based on this calculation, Kaohsiung terminal operators could gain TW$200,000 (US$6,793) to TW$1.2 million (US$40,759) from new ocean-going routes, and TW$150,000 (US$5,095) to TW$200,000 (US$6,793) from new short-sea services.

TIPC’s general manager, Chen Shao-liang, said that the company respects the associations’ grievances and said that if there is any merit in the complaints, an investigation will be launched. Chen added that TIPC will communicate with each association to address the concerns raised in the letter.

Chen added that the incentives for container cargoes are targeted at increasing transhipment in Kaohsiung, which faces intense competition from other deepwater ports in the Far East and South East Asia.

He said that Taichung and Keelung are geared towards imports and exports, and therefore do not need incentives for transhipments.

Martina Li
Asia Correspondent

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