Sat, Mar 23, 2013 - Page 4 News List

PRC demand boosts free-trade zone

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

China’s rising demand for petrochemical products boosted the trade value and cargo volume at Taichung Port’s free-trade zone last year, the Department of Navigation and Aviation said yesterday.

Department statistics showed the total trade value of the free-trade zone reached NT$501.9 billion (US$16.79 billion) last year, while cargo volume reached 10.17 million tonnes. This represents growth of 65.85 percent and 149.76 percent respectively from 2011, the department said.

Wang Yu-ming (王玉明), a section chief at the department, said the increase was largely attributed to growth in petrochemical product trade. Trade value in this category was NT$163.27 billion last year, three times more than in 2011, he said.

Wang said China has increased its demand for petrochemical products. Some Asian oil trading firms, including Winson, Gunvor, Vitol and Hin Leong Groups, have also started purchasing petrochemical products from Taiwan because of their better quality and the investment incentives offered by the zone.

“We have lowered the charges for wharf passage from NT$16 per tonne to NT$4,” he said. “The harbor management fee is also below NT$40.”

The department said the free-trade zone at the port was the development base for the trade in petrochemical goods in Taiwan.

Oil product traders such as Chenergy Global, Prime Oil Chemical Service and Yi-Chiu Group have leased properties at the port.

Meanwhile, the department also announced that a new international terminal at Taichung International Airport would soon be available, with construction scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.

Department director-general Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) said the new terminal would increase the airport’s capacity from 1.2 million passengers per year to 2.55 million.

Chi also said the ministry held a meeting yesterday to discuss EVA Airways Corp’s proposal to build a fourth maintenance hanger at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, a subject recently raised by the airline’s president.

While the ministry would help any carrier expand its maintenance capacity at the airport, the measure must be taken under the condition that it would not impede the airport’s development, Chi said.

The land that EVA Airways is eyeing is about 5.6 hectares, Chi said, about 1 hectare of which is being used by Sunrise Airlines.

Sunrise has the right to use the land until 2016, when its lease with the government expires. If another airline can pursuade Sunrise to relocate, the government would agree to let that carrier use the 5.6 hectare plot for 10 to 15 years, Chi said.

“Taoyuan International Airport Corp is reserving the land to be used as apron for the yet-to-bebuilt Terminal Three [T3],” Chi said. “As the passenger volume for T3 may take some time to develop, we agreed to let a carrier use the land for some time to meet their special needs before we take it back.”

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