Anping Port (安平港) in Tainan will not be able to compete with international seaports in China if it chooses not to become part of the state-run port company, Minister of Transportation and Communications Mao Chi-kuo (毛治國) told the legislature’s Transportation Committee yesterday.
“The nation is relatively small,” Mao said. “If each seaport is independent and each has its own development strategies, Taiwan’s sea transportation industry will cease to exist one day.”
“It would be a disaster in the future if we do not integrate them now. I cannot stress this enough,” he said.
Mao said Anping Port would have a better opportunity as a branch of the soon-to-established national port company, adding that the proposal that Anping becomes an independent seaport is not viable because it has neither the market share nor the required number of shipping lines using the port.
“It is in the nation’s best interests that we form a port cluster and integrate resources at different ports,” Mao said. “Especially now that we are facing tremendous pressure from China, it is simply not enough to look at Kaohsiung Port. We need to be united ... Anping will have no chance at all if it chooses to stand alone.”
The committee is scheduled to review a bill that would establish a state-run Taiwan Port Co (台灣港務公司) next year.
The company would have its headquarters in Kaohsiung and manage the operations of the ports in Keelung, Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung, Hualien, Suao and Anping.
Some of the nation’s minor ports, such as Budai (布袋) and Magong (馬公), would still be overseen by the Harbor Bureau. Those in Matsu and Kinmen would be managed by the county governments.
The proposal to make Anping Port independent was raised by Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Wang Sing-nan (王幸男) and legislators from Greater Tainan.
Wang accused the ministry of robbing local governments of the chance to develop their seaports. He said that the ministry was belittling local governments and questioning their ability to manage seaports.
“As long as the act states that local governments must be completely responsible for ports losses and profits, the ministry should let it go,” Wang said.