Kaohsiung free trade harbor zone to be established

Dec 29, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Ben, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 29, 2003 (CENS)--The central government has recently passed preliminary screening of Kaohsiung City Government's application to set up a free trade harbor zone, according to city mayor Frank Hsieh.

Thanks to the passage of the application, Ksohsiung Harbor will officially establish the free trade harbor zone, the first of its kind in Taiwan, in January next year.

With the advantages of handling air and marine transport and ample hinterland, Kaohsiung Harbor will become a hub of international trade after the free trade harbor zone is established, according to Hsieh.

Hsieh said his government has set aside NT$3 billion (US$88.23 million at US$1:NT$34) as construction fee to develop a multi-function business and trade park, which will be extended to Santo business zone to link the city's air and marine transport corridor.

Teng Yu-yi, acting director of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, said the proposed free trade harbor zone will be set up at the Kaohsiung Harbor's No.1 to No.5 container transport centers. Occupying a land area of 397.6 hectare, the free trade harbor zone is expected to bring in NT$2.5 billion (US$73.52 million) business opportunities annually during the early years of operations.

At present the forwarders operating in the No.1 to No.5 container transport centers have carried out self-management system and all of their business scopes are in line with the regulations of the free trade harbor zone, which will allow Kaohsiung Harbor to transform into a free trade harbor at any time.

Teng estimated such large-sized liner shipping companies as Evergreen, Yang Ming, Wan Hai, Han Chin, Hyundai, and Taiwan Maersk Sealand, currently operating in the Harbor, will apply for making transformation after the free trade harbor zone is established.

To meet the expected increase in container handling volume after the free trade harbor zone is established, the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau will invest NT$8 billion (US$235.29 million) to build the sixth container transport center with four container piers, which will help the harbor increase its loading/unloading volume by two million twenty-equivalent-unit containers per year.

Cheng Wu-hsuan, deputy director of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, said his bureau is now revamping the detailed plan of the proposed free trade harbor zone, which will be sent to the MOTC for second screening in January next year. The MOTC will send the entire plan to the Executive Yuan for final approval after it maps out related management and fee-collection regulations for the proposed free trade harbor zone.
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