The nation’s newest port, the Port of Taipei, will start operation next week to boost shipping links with China and other countries, the port said yesterday.
Two of the port’s container wharfs will begin operation on Wednesday, with one additional container wharf to be built every year until 2014.
In the first year of operation, the port will handle 750,000 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units), the port said in a statement.
The port is being built in stages. When the construction is finished in 2014, there will be seven container wharfs with an annual capacity of 4 million TEUs.
Wharfs for bulk carriers are also under construction.
That will be about half of the container volume of Kaohsiung Harbor, the nation’s largest port, which handled 8.97 million TEUs last year.
The depth of the Port of Taipei’s container wharfs is between 15.5m and 16m.
The Port of Taipei will allow direct cross-strait shipping links from next month, making it easier and cheaper for Taiwanese firms to send their goods to China.
Taiwan has four main ports in Kaohsiung, Taichung, Keelung and Hualien.
Their competitiveness has dwindled in the absence of direct sea links with China and as neighboring countries, especially China, have expanded their ports.
The ban on direct cross-strait sea links was lifted in December following talks with China.
The Port of Taipei is located at the mouth of the Tamsui River on the coast of Bali Township (八里) in Taipei County.
The Port of Taipei may boost shipping in the north at the expense of Kaohsiung Port.
“In the coming years, we estimate that each year the Port of Taipei will absorb some 1 million TEUs that are being shipped overseas via Kaohsiung Harbor,” Kaohsiung Harbor chief Tsai Ting-yi (蔡丁義) said.