The Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) is planning to offer a business opportunity worth an estimated NT$97.7 billion (US$3.3 billion). The agency held a trade and investment conference at the Greater Taichung Government on Sept. 2, and apart from attracting several dozen companies, Taichung Mayor Jason Hu was also there trying to persuade MOTC Minister Yeh Kuang-shih to turn Greater Taichung into a cross-strait transshipment center for handling all mail between Taiwan and China at the Port of Taichung.
Hu says that direct boats between Greater Taichung and Fujian Province’s Pingtan Island have been available for 15 months, transporting around 180,000 passengers to date, which is more than the number of people that have travelled between Fujian Province’s Xiamen and Taichung. The Pingtan route takes as little as two hours and 20 minutes, providing transport at the price of sea transport and the speed of air transport, Hu says, adding that fruit picked in Greater Taichung in the morning could be sold at Shanghai supermarkets the next morning.
Hu also says that currently all mail coming from China to Taiwan must first be transferred to Matsu to be organized before being shipped by boat to Keelung to get sorted and mailed to its intended destination in Taiwan. Hu suggests that all mail from China should be sent to Pingtan instead, and then sent to a transshipment center at the Port of Taichung because it would make for faster delivery and be beneficial to the development of the Taichung harbor area.
Yeh says that in August last year when he took the express ferry from Taichung Port to Pingtan, he realized that Taichung Port could become an important base for commercial product exports to China. A transshipment station in Pingtan could be set up for products from Taiwan, but verifying that the products are from Taiwan and ensuring the quality of the products is a must, he says, adding that the ministry will be actively communicating with customs officials to work on relaxing restrictions. Chunghwa Post and HSC Hai Xia Hao are also vying for rights to operate the cross-strait mail center because the necessary technology would not be an issue for them.
Ten agencies, including the Bureau of High Speed Rail, Taiwan International Ports Co and Chunghwa Post, made 41 investment proposals at the conference, which included proposals to develop a commercial zone around the Greater Taichung high speed railway station, construction on No. 4 National Highway between the city’s Fengyuan and Tanzi districts and setting up investments to develop an area specifically for professional industries around Taichung Port.
The trade and investment conference held on Sept. 2 also attracted several companies from central Taiwan, including construction companies such as the Shining Group, Sweeten Construction Co, Zongtai Development and Construction Co and Pao Huei Construction Co, as well as Janfusun Fancyworld and the Vedan Enterprise Corp.
(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)