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Taipei outlines $1.76bn shipping rescue package

The government in Taiwan is lining up a multi-billion dollar rescue package for the local shipping scene.

With intense consolidation happening across the container sector in particular, attention has turned in recent weeks to what will happen with the island’s main lines including Evergreen and Yang Ming.

Taipei has moved to ease fears about the island’s maritime firms with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications outlining yesterday a massive NT$560bn ($1.757bn) package.

“The nation relies on shipping firms to transport goods that come in large quantities, which is key to the nation’s economic development,” deputy minister of transportation and communications Wang Kwo-tsai said yesterday. “We have submitted the plan to the Executive Yuan [Taiwan’s parliament] for final approval so that it can be quickly implemented to help shipping firms battle the worldwide slump in the industry.”

“The bankruptcy of [South Korean firm] Hanjin Shipping [Co Ltd] in August has caused many of its ships, as well as the goods they carried, to be detained by port authorities around the world,” he said. “We see how people had to figure out ways to salvage their goods stranded at sea… The incident shows us that the government has to provide support to the industry before the damage becomes uncontrollable.”

Wang said that the industry is expected to recover within two years. He also spoke about the urgent need for the island’s box carriers to upgrade their near redundant panamax boxships to vessels larger than 10,000 teu.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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