Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Taiwan Looks To Improved Relations With China In Meetings To Lift Freight Trade

Hopes for a Better Future After Depressing Shipping Company Results
Shipping News Feature

TAIWAN – The nation’s container freight companies are looking toward the proposed Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) which is being discussed over the next two days with officials from China in Beijing. The agreement is designed to strengthen trade ties between the two nations after the establishment of direct transport links across the strait in late 2008.

After a week which produced disappointing results for Taiwan’s big three container carriers, Evergreen, Wan Hai Lines and the Yang Ming Marine Transport Corporation, all of whom have turned in far from impressive Q3 figures, hopes are raised that the new negotiations will induce a rapid increase in trade. The three shipping lines, all of whom cooperated in the private development of the new Taipei Port Container Terminal by investing a total of over $615 million are trusting they will directly benefit in the increase in traffic of all types.

The new development is in a region that sees 60% of Taiwanese container traffic pass through and is expected to cut road miles and produce savings to shippers of around $100 million annually. The shipping lines will have responsibility for the port for fifty years when ownership will pass to the Keelung Harbour Board.

The new talks with China have a sense of urgency following the ASEAN agreement to introduce a Free Trade Agreement in the region from 2010. The zero tariff levels China will receive as a result is liable to seriously impact on Taiwanese trade and it may be supposed that in the latest meetings representatives will push for the matter to be discussed further at the highest level during next months discussions between the two countries.

Logistics is one industry that the Ministry of Economic Affairs intends to request receives tariff concessions when proposing a limited Free Trade Association between the two states.

pic:Evergreen Line's "Hatsu Smile"