Evergreen will not ditch Kaohsiung Port: founder

‘IRREPLACEABLE’:: Chang Yung-fa rebutted a report that Evergreen Group intended to halt operations in Kaohsiung in favor of a container wharf at Taipei Port

STAFF WRITER, WITH CNA , SINGAPORE

Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 11

Evergreen Group (長榮集團) founder Chang Yung-fa (張榮發) yesterday rebutted a report that his group’s container shipping unit would pull out of Kaohsiung Port to save money.

“How could Evergreen withdraw its operations from the fifth container wharf of Kaohsiung Port given that Kaohsiung is an irreplaceable operating base in southern Taiwan?” Chang said in Singapore, where he arrived on Monday for a five-day visit.

Evergreen Group owns Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運), the nation’s largest container shipping company by revenue.

A TV station had reported that Evergreen might halt operations at Kaohsiung Port and instead launch services at a container wharf at Taipei Port that is jointly operated by Evergreen, Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運) and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運).

Pulling out of Kaohsiung would save Evergreen up to NT$3 billion (NT$88.2 million) a year in rental fees, the report claimed.

Chang is in Singapore to inspect Evergreen’s operations and promote Morals Monthly Digest, a magazine he launched in January last year and distributes for free to promote traditional moral values.

Chang also announced the launch of Evergreen Marine (Singapore) Pte Ltd and plans to bring 13 ships presently flying the Panamanian flag to Singapore, where they will be registered.

One of the vessels began flying Singapore’s flag earlier this month.

In the future, the company’s Singapore-based fleet will increase to around 50 vessels, Chang said.

Evergreen pulled out of Singapore in 2002, saying the port fees were excessive, and moved its fleet to Malaysia.

The company said in December it would return to the city-state to take advantage of Singapore’s Approved International Shipping Enterprise scheme.

Under the program, international shippers that establish their operations in Singapore get 10-year tax holidays on qualifying shipping income.