The Harbor of Taichung
Taichung Harbour is a man-made international port carved from a barren stretch of open sea shore on the west coast of central Taiwan. It has a total area covering 5,058 hectares. The harbour is Taiwan's major entrepot for bulk cargo and a gateway to the Greater Taichung Area. It also has enormous potential for industrial use.
In terms of exports and imports, Taichung is the second largest port in Taiwan. A total of 41.76 million metric tons of import and export cargo passed through it during FY 1997, which ended on June 30.
A majority of the import cargo consists of grains and minerals. Taichung is about 110 nautical miles from each of Taiwan's two other major ports, Keelung in the north and Kaohsiung in the south. Owing to this central location, Taichung harbour has become an ideal entrepot for bulk cargo imports.
The container handling business has been growing rapidly in recent years. In 1996, the harbour handled 694,806 TEUs. The total is expected to exceed one million TEUs within two years.
The harbour is 15 kilometers from north to south and 2.5 to 3.5 kilometers from east to west. With navigation lanes as deep as 13 meters at low-tide, it can accommodate ships of up to 60,000 tons.
A report of Ministry of Transportation and Communications indicates that the Harbour of Taichung outdid both Kaohsiung and Keelung in terms of growth in cargo handling and transhipped goods as well as in the total size of the harbour. The Harbour of Taichung is 1.8 times larger than Kaohsiung and eight times larger than Keelung's harbour.
Currently, 33 deep-water wharves have been completed, including five container wharves, 15 general cargo wharves, two bulk cargo wharves, four liquid cargo wharves, three cement wharves, two grain wharves, and two coal wharves. It also has a petrochemical terminal, a power plant, and a domestic terminal.
Situated about 20 kilometers from downtown Taichung, the harbour serves not only the city of Taichung, but also the whole of central Taiwan and its more than 5 million inhabitants. As it is only 135 to 145 nautical miles from mainland Chinese ports, the harbour will also play an important role in cross-strait trade once direct transportation links are opened. To take advantage of this superior location, Chrysler, one of the world's largest car manufacturing companies, has signed a contract with the Taichung Harbour Bureau to establish a goods forwarding center at Taichung harbour. This plan, which calls for importing one million cars in the coming 20 years, is the first instance of a foreign car company establishing a goods forwarding center in a Taiwan port area. The eight largest US grain suppliers also plan to establish their Asia transportation center at the harbour. This plan will make the Harbour of Taichung the largest grain import center on the island.
To meet the needs of future development in trade with mainland China and transform Taichung harbour into an Asia-Pacific marine transportation center, the government has approved an expansion plan for the Harbour. The plan features investment of NT$71.16 billion. The completion date is set for the year 2003.
Taichung harbour is also designed as an industrial port. Already, the Kuan Lien Industrial Park has begun operations adjacent to the harbour, and two waterfront industrial areas are being developed for future expansion in the harbour area.