The Taiwanese government has announced a TWD30bn ($1bn) credit facility to support major container operators hit by trade disruptions caused by the spread of coronavirus.
The policy is targeted at medium to large scale shipping companies, container terminal operators and cargo loading/unloading operators. In addition to the $1bn credit facility, the government is also offering TWD243m ($8.1m) of loan interest subsidies.
The Ministry of Transport and Communications of Taiwan has asked the companies who applied for the loan to prioritise the funds for salary payment to employees.
Taiwan’s two major container lines, Yang Ming and Evergreen, reported a net loss of around $27.3m and $14.7m respectively in the first quarter of this year, while another major container operator Wan Hai made a profit of $27.8m during the same period.
Yang Ming said that its container business has been affected by the spread of the coronavirus in the first quarter and it expects the situation to continue in the second quarter. The Taiwanese government has already come in to help Yang Ming, agreeing a couple of weeks ago to buy approximately $300m in preferred shares in the line which the state is already a major shareholder in.
Other containerlines around the world – notably HMM and CMA CGM – have also recently been helped with state backing to try and tide them through the coronavirus-inspired downturn.