Taiwan International Ports Co (TIPC) has budgeted NT$4.2 billion (US$143.3 million) for the construction of a new harbor service building at Keelung port, which it hopes will triple the service capacity of the port to 1,500 passengers per hour.
Sheng Kuang-ching (沈光青), director of TIPC’s construction management and engineering division at Keelung Port, said the port company had signed a contract on Monday with an architecture firm that was chosen for the project, adding that the design of the building would be finalized within a year.
He said construction is scheduled to begin in October next year.
In all, 32 architecture firms from 12 countries competed for the project, Sheng said.
The designs were reviewed by eight jury members, including Cincinnati Art Museum director Aaron Betsky, National Cheng Kung University architecture professor Wang Ming-hung (王明衡), University of Kentucky College of Design dean Michael Speaks, TIPC chief engineer at Keelung Port Wei Jenn (魏震) and others.
Wei said that the design was chosen because the jury members felt that it could become a landmark in Keelung, despite its rather avant-garde style.
The architect also incorporated some important elements representing Keelung into his design, such as the light towers, the mountains and the sea.
Sheng said the design would allow the harbor service to function smoothly and serve as an entertainment facility for the residents of the city, which was another factor why it was favored by the review members.
The new building will be located between piers No. 4 and No. 6 on the west side of the Keelung Port and covers an area of about 5 hectares.
The passenger service center is scheduled to be completed in 2015. The office buildings that are to accommodate customs, immigration, quarantine and navigation safety officials should be finished in March in 2017.
Sheng said the nation planned to turn Keelung Port into an international cruise ship terminal because more cruise lines would choose to dock there.
However, the current facility can handle a maximum of 500 passengers per hour, although passengers numbers can hit 700 per hour during peak hours. The port’s service capacity could be expanded to 1,500 passengers once the new passenger service center is complete, he said.
Sheng said international visitors arriving through Keelung Port can travel to other parts of the nation because the Keelung Railway Station and Kuokuang Bus Stop is very close to the new harbor service building.