Tue, Oct 07, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Evergreen plans NT$200 billion investment program

EXPANSION The conglomerate is planning a big increase in ships and large scale expansion of port facilities, as well as the purchase of 17 new airplanes


Evergreen Group plans to invest NT$200 billion (US$5.9 billion) in the next 10 years on expansion and development, company chairman Chang Jung-fa (張榮發) said yesterday.

The group plans to move its cargo terminal in northern Taiwan to Taipei port and the land freed up would be developed into a complex, housing its headquarters.

Evergreen said it would initially invest more than NT$10 billion in developing the complex.

The group will also set aside more than NT$100 billion to build 50 new cargo vessels in the next decade, with delivery starting in 2005, to meet projected demand.

Delivery of the ships is expected to be completed by 2013 -- or 2011 at the earliest.

In a speech given at National Taiwan Ocean University to mark the school's 50th anniversary, Chang predicted that barring any unexpected circumstances, the global economy will gradually rebound after 2005.

Based on an analysis of container cargo loads and his experience over the years, Chang said that the world economy will slowly regain strength after 2005.

Unless something out of the ordinary happens such as the United States-led military campaign against Iraq, or the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against the United States, the world economy will be solid by 2015, he said.

During the one-hour speech, Chang said shipping exchanges will increase progress in civilization and technology development. Chinese are more aware of this than those on Taiwan, he said.

He lamented that though Taiwan calls itself an ocean country, it has no ocean policy.

He noted that China, after opening its markets, has seen its coastal cities such as Dalien, Shanghai and Guangdong enjoy rapid development, and the people there are even more affluent than people in Taiwan.

In contrast, the hinterlands of China, because of its lack of stimulus and trade exchanges with the outside world, is comparatively rather backwards, he said.

He said that shipping can be a gauge of the direction of economic development and cited the recent growth of cargo volume of container vessels as an example.

Meanwhile, EVA Airways Corp (長榮航空) will invest US$2.55 billion, equivalent to nearly NT$100 billion for 17 new airplanes -- seven of which will be Boeing 777s to be delivered starting in 2005.

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