Express maritime shipping service between Taiwan and China keeps booming due to the rise in the e-commerce business, Taiwan Ports International Corp’s (TIPC) said this week.
Company statistics showed that 35.37 million kilograms of cargo were delivered through express services during the first half of this year, already surpassing 32.42 million kilograms last year.
The cargo volume is expected to grow during the third and fourth quarters due to the thriving online shopping market, the company said.
TIPC’s Keelung branch president Stephen Liu (劉詩宗) said that while cross-strait ferry services have been suspended since February because of the COVID-19 pandemic, cross-strait cargo shipping services have continued to thrive.
“The air cargo service is growing at a faster rate and has a relatively shorter delivery time, but the delivery cost is higher. By contrast, the duration of the cargo shipping service from the Port of Taipei to the port in Pingtan in China’s Fujian Province is about three to four hours, only slightly longer than the air cargo service, he said.
As the maritime shipping cost is cheaper, many e-commerce platform operators opt to deliver items through the maritime transport service as well,” Liu said.
Chinese e-commerce operators such as Taobao.com and Taiwan-based operators PCHome Online and Eastern Home Shopping & Leisure Co (ET-Mall) have chosen to deliver a large quantity of their items through the cross-strait express shipping service, TIPC chairman Lee Hsien-yi (李賢義) said.
Some of the logistics firms have also planned to expand their warehousing facilities in the Port of Taipei in view of rising service demand, Lee said.
The nation’s cross-strait express shipping service, which was launched in 2015, delivered mainly agricultural products and seafood during its first years of operation, the company said.
As online shopping has increasingly become popular, the products transported through the servic include consumer goods, from underwear to pet toys, it said.
Despite the growing volume at the Port of Taipei, the nation’s five largest international commercial ports — Keelung, Taipei, Taichung, Kaohsiung and Hualien — have seen total container throughput decline by nearly 9 percent during the first half of this year due to the pandemic, the company said.
The decrease of traffic in the Port of Kaohsiung exceeded 10 percent, the largest among the five, it said, adding that the volume is expected to pick up during the second half of this year with the easing of COVID-19 in China.
Large shipping firms have reduced container and bulk cargo shipping services during the first two quarters, while increasingly transiting goods through the Port of Xiamen in China, which reduces the cargo volume at the Port of Kaohsiung, he said.
“The pandemic in China may have slightly eased, but several countries in Southeast Asia continue to keep their seaports closed to contain the spread of the disease, he said.
“The performance of the maritime shipping service in the second half of this year would depend on the COVID-19 situation in other countries, which have seen no sign of easing,” he said.
“We will upgrade port facilities and expedite the handling of containers in all seaports to attract berthing of more large container ships,” he added.
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