Taiwan – Ports

Taiwan is home to seven international commercial ports: Keelung, Kaohsiung, Hualien, Taichung, Suao, Anping, and Taipei. These ports play a key role in Taiwan's economy.

Focus of Development :-

Port of Keelung

1. Focus on regional container cargo traffic;
2. Port of call for Cross-Strait and international cruise ships;
3. Asia-Pacific shipping hub & distribution center.

Port of Taichung

1. Focus on regional container cargo traffic;
2. Central Taiwan value-added logistics center;
3. Key receiving port for commodity fuels, heavy machinery and petrochemicals and for the storage / shipment of petroleum products;
4. Port of call for Cross-Straits passenger and cargo ships;
5. Potential for industrial manufacturing growth in adjacent districts.

Port of Kaohsiung

1. Global container transshipment hub;
2. Full-service value-added logistics support center;
3. Key receiving port for commodity fuels, heavy machinery and petrochemicals and for the storage / shipment of petroleum products;
4. Provides critical support services for international tourism and trade / business.

Port of Hualien

1. Stores and ships East Coast cement, minerals / gravel and quarried stone;
2. Offers tourism & recreational facilities.

Port of Taipei

1. Focus on intercontinental container cargo traffic;
2. Currently developing consolidated air-sea shipping capabilities;
3. Provides logistics services for the automotive and other industrial sectors.

Port of Su-Ao

1. Provides value-added logistics services focused on the eco-green sector;
2. Offers tourism and water recreation facilities.

Port of Anping

1. Southern Taiwan regional import / export hub for bulk cargoes;
2. Offers tourism and water recreation facilities.





Details of Ports are as follows :-

Keelung Port :-

Keelung was a focus of Spanish activity on the island during the 17th century when Spain occupied strongholds across northern Taiwan, sponsored expeditions inland, and established a short-lived but bustling outpost at the head of Keelung Bay. Western traders reestablished a presence at Keelung Harbor in the waning years of the Qing Dynasty and, in 1863, the port was formally opened to international trade as an auxiliary port of Danshui (Tamsui). The first efforts to modernize the port came in 1886 under the direction of then-Qing governor Liu Mingchuan, who appointed the tycoon Lin Weiyuan to handle related planning work. Governor Liu further ordered the island's nascent railway to be extended all the way to Keelung Harbor. However, modernization efforts at the port largely ground to a halt after the governor stepped down. Of the various projects, only one, an integrated sea-to-land wharf, was completed.

During the Japanese Colonial Period (1895-1945), Keelung was developed as a major terminal of trade, transportation, and communications between Taiwan and the Japanese home islands. Colonial administrators implemented major improvements and expansions at the port over 5 phases between 1899 and 1944, although work on the fifth phase remained unfinished due to the Second World War.

Through much of the first half of the 20th century, Keelung's colonial port authority cleared the inner harbor area of coral reefs and, in the outer harbor area, constructed large-scale ship works, naval wharves, a fishing harbor and other facilities. By mid-century, Keelung Port had a comprehensive wharf and warehouse infrastructure that was well integrated into the harbor railway network. The warehouse buildings adjacent to Port of Keelung West Wharves No. 2 and 3 date from this period. This five-phase development program not only set the foundations for future port growth but also made Keelung Taiwan's largest international port well into the 1970s. Throughout the Japanese Colonial Period, the Port of Keelung was unique in being administered by the military rather than a civilian agency. Until 1945, Keelung was one of many ports throughout the Japanese Empire that was administered directly by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

The Taipei Prefectural Harbor Office, supervised by the Prefectural Bureau of Transportation's Maritime Affairs Office, was responsible for day-to-day port operations. To meet the needs of wartime, the colonial authorities in 1943 unified all port administration under a new Keelung Harbor Office that reported directly to the Government-General .

The end of the war in 1945 signaled the end of Japanese sovereignty in Taiwan and the start of Chinese rule as part of the Republic of China (ROC). The ROC retained colonial-era Harbor Office mechanisms and made the Port of Keelung a provincial-level enterprise administered first by the Taiwan Provincial Administrative Executive Office (TPAEO) and then subsequently by the Taiwan Provincial Communications Department. After the dissolution of the Taiwan Provincial Government in 1998, Taiwan's 3 Harbor Bureaus (including Keelung) were subordinated to the ROC Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).


Taichung Port :-

In 1938, the Taiwan Government-General  announced plans to significantly expand Wuqi Harbor in order to both support central Taiwan industries and better support Japan's expansionist ambitions in Southeast Asia. Once finished, the new harbor facilities would help shoulder the island's expanding shipping needs and bridge the significant distance between Taiwan's two main ports at Keelung (Kirun) and Kaohsiung (Takao). Wuqi was to be a dual-purpose fishing and industrial harbor. The harbor was renamed Niitaka Port in 1939 to honor Taiwan's tallest mountain, Yushan, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on September 25th. The project was expanded in 1941 with plans to incorporate the new port and its surrounding communities into a new municipality - Niitaka City. However, wartime funding shortages and U.S. bombing raids led authorities to suspend all work.

After the Republic of China assumed control of Taiwan in 1945, Niitaka Port, soon renamed the Port of Taichung, enjoyed a period of prosperity that lasted long enough for the government to consider re-designating neighboring Wuqi City as a provincial-level municipality. However, the Chinese Civil War and the retreat of the Nationalist Government to Taiwan halted Cross-Strait shipping and sank the Port of Taichung's immediate prospects for prosperity. Significant expansion of the port would wait until ROC Premier Chiang Ching-kuo (CCK) included the Port of Taichung as part of the national “Ten Major Construction Projects” program in the 1970s.

Taiwan's export-driven “economic miracle”, which began in the 1960s and lasted well into the 1990s, taxed severely the cargo-handling capacities of the ports of Keelung and Kaohsiung. The government thus took the decision to develop the Port of Taichung in order to relieve the pressure on Taiwan's two main ports, give industries in central Taiwan more convenient access to international markets, and improve the distributions of economic opportunity and population. Expansion plans called for the development of a multifunctional port supporting the needs of the trade / commerce, manufacturing, and fishing industries. The newly minted Port of Taichung officially opened for business on October 31st, 1973.


Kaohsiung Port :-


Earlierthe Port of Kaohsiung was home to a small fishing village in the early to mid 16th century. The harbor was further developed and used by the Dutch East India Company from 1642 until 1662, when General Koxinga took authority over Taiwan in the name of the deposed Ming Dynasty. The Koxinga era further expanded the harbor for the purposes of trade until, by 1684, Kaohsiung was the main hub of commerce for the entire southwestern plains. The terms of the 1863 Treaty of Tianjin opened Kaohsiung to international commerce and formally established the Kaohsiung Customs Office.

The end of the First Sino-Japanese War in 1894 forced Qing-Dynasty China to surrender Taiwan and the Penghu Islands to Japan. As an aspiring colonial power, Japan invested heavily in developing the economic potentials of its new possession. Colonial authorities promoted the production of rice, sugar, and other commodities, in part to supply domestic Japanese demand and in part to advance political, economic, and military unification with the Japanese home islands. To grease the wheels of this unification, colonial administrators sponsored major infrastructure initiatives that greatly expanded the island's rail and roadway networks and gradually turned the island's two main harbors at Keelung and Kaohsiung into impressively modern commercial ports.

When first opened in the mid-19th century, Kaohsiung quickly became an entrepôt for trade between Taiwan and the outside world. Merchants from the U.K., France, and Germany flocked to Takao to establish merchant offices and warehouses, fueling a local economic boom. The Qing government established a Customs Office at Cihou near the entrance to Kaohsiung Harbor in 1863, appointing an Englishman as the harbor's first Customs official. This was the start of Port of Kaohsiung's steady transformation from a fishing port into a commercial port of call and then to one of the world's largest and most important commercial ports.

In 1904, the colonial harbor authority laid the foundations for coastal warehouses, removed sandbars from the harbor entrance, and created nearly 140,000m2 of reclaimed land for use by the harbor railway. A public dredging agency, created in April 1905, initiated the second phase of harbor development, launching a yearlong survey of the port's topography, geology, water depths, tides, weather, and surrounding seacoast. Port development plans were finalized in 1906, with implementation to be carried out in three phases. The first phase (1908 - 1912) deepened the entrance and navigation channels to admit vessels up to 3,000MT and gave the port a total of 7 wharves and 4 mooring buoys. The second phase (completed in 1937) opened the port to 8m draught / 8,000MT vessels, constructed 19 one-story and 6 two-story warehouse buildings, and increased annual cargo handling capacity to 1.4 million tons. Phase-two improvements to the port further stimulated industrial growth in the region in sectors including oil refining; aluminum, cement, and alkali manufacturing; and shipbuilding.

Allied bombing during the Second World War devastated Takao (Kaohsiung) Harbor, its facilities, and surrounding infrastructures. Officials sank five large ships at the harbor entrance to slow the anticipated (but unrealized) Allied invasion of southern Taiwan. Even before the end of the war, the port had been rendered unusable.

When transferred to the Republic of China (ROC) in 1945, the Port of Kaohsiung was a wasteland of sunken ships and rubble. In December of that year, the ROC government created the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau to administer the port and began clearing harbor channels of debris. A 12-year expansion program was launched in 1959 and, by 1980, the Port of Kaohsiung had the new Zhongdao (Chungtao) Commercial Port area with its 27 deep-water wharves and 2 shallow-draught wharves as well as the adjacent Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, Qianzhen (Cianjhen) Fishing Harbor, Linhai Industrial Park, China Steel works, China Shipbuilding works, and the 1st through 4th Container Terminals. The port opened the Second Harbor Entrance in 1975 and finished the cross-harbor traffic tunnel in 1984. The 5th Container Terminal opened for business in 1989.


Hualien Port :-

Systematic Han Chinese settlement of Taiwan's East Coast started around 1812 with the arrival of homesteaders from Yilan. They first settled along a bay known as Huilan that had been shaped by time and waves into a natural anchorage for coastal boats.

In 1931, the completion of a cliff-side roadway connecting Suao to Karenko (the colonial-era name of Hualien) greatly enhanced communications between northern Taiwan and Taiwan's long-isolated East Coast. However, this narrow road (the predecessor of today's Suhua Highway) did little to improve the flow of commerce. Recognizing the need to greatly improve the flow of commerce between the East Coast and the rest of the island, Taiwan's colonial Government-General  invested 7.42 million yen over 8 years to upgrade the infrastructure at Hualien's Meilun Harbor. The 3 new wharves completed in 1939 could accommodate ships up to 3,000MT. The completion of East Coast hydroelectric works in 1940 further inspired plans to develop various heavy industries around the port, making further expansion of the harbor a priority. Although plans to invest 5 million yen to complete Phase-2 expansion by 1944 were made, they were shelved permanently by the financial strains of war.

After the war, the ROC government spent a decade repairing wartime damage to the port, with handled cargo volumes recovering steadily. A new Phase 1 expansion of the Port of Hualien  increased annual cargo handling capacity to 500,000 tons. National export-oriented growth policies led the government to designate the Port of Hualien as an international commercial port in September 1962, helping grow exports through Hualien and bringing new economic opportunity to the East Coast. Steadily rising cargo volumes and vessel calls led to the launch of Phase 2 (1969 - 1973) and Phase 3 (1974 - 1977) expansion programs. In particular, the eight new wharves opened in 1977 greatly eased congestion. Phase 4 expansion (1979 - 1991) further opened the Port of Hualien to 30~40,000MT vessels and added new facilities that were critical to supporting regional industries.


Suao Port :-


In July 1965, to respond to the demand of local economic development, the central government decided to construct “Su Ao Port” into a small-scale commercial Port. The reconstruction was completed in June 1973, with three shallow-water wharves built to accommodate vessels under 3000 ton. At the same time, the “Office of Su Ao Port” was instituted; it is managed under “Keelung Port Bureau”.


On May 21, 1970, the Executive Yuan officially approved “Su Ao Port” as the auxiliary Port of “Keelung Port”, and re-instituted it as the “Su Ao Port Bureau Branch Office”.

On May 26, 1973, the then Premier, Chiang Ching-Kuo, when inspecting this Port, instructed the enlargement of it to and international Port and the establishment of “Construction office for Su Ao Port” to undertake the construction of enlargement. On July 1, 1974, such construction began to move mountains and fill into sea; the painstaking task went on till the completion in June 1983 with 800 thousand square meter of land reclaimed.

The enlargement of “Su Ao Port” took a total of nine years to complete at the cost of NT$7.98 billion, and finally built it to be an international Port of top quality, which is capable of both relieving the congestion at “Keelung Port” and helping economic development in Lan-yang area.


Taipei Port :-

The Port of Taipei or Taipei Harbor is the latest operated international port of Taiwan. It is located in Bali District in New Taipei City. The Phase I of the project was initiated by Port of Tamsui in 1993 and was completed in 1998. Government and private investors have been cooperating on Phase II construction since July 1996. Phase II will utilize a water area of 2,833 hectares and land area of 269 hectares for a total of 3,102 hectares. The port was scheduled to be completed in 2011. Estimates anticipate annual volumes by that date of 4,000,000 TEU, superseding the current volume of the Keelung Port.

Anping Port :-

Anping is a recently built government marina in the historic city of Tainan. The marina is regarded as typhoon-proof and the prices are very reasonable because the government charges are based on the vessel's gross tonnage and not length. This however may change in the future.

There are no other facilities at the moment, except public toilets, but there are plans to build further.

Outside Anping Harbour there are extensive oyster farms. However, if you stay about two miles offshore and approach at a right angle you will find a "passage" to the entrance into the harbour. Do not approach at night. There are no lights and no markers at all.

At Anping, (harbour entrance: 22 degrees, 59 N, 120 degrees, 8.5 E) the security dock is also on your port side, at 22 degrees 59.3 N, 120 degrees 9 E. The marina is situated at the head of the basin, at 22 degrees 59.4 N, 120 degrees, 8.8 E.

Taiwan International Ports Corporation runs Port of Anping. This port majorly caters bulk cargoesfor certain Taiwan region. Anping is also developed as a tourism place.

Containers handled by Taiwan's international ports in 2015 totaled 14.49 million TEU, a decrease of 3.7% from 2014. By weight, the amount of cargo handled was 721.39 million revenue tons, a decrease of 3.6%. Total throughput was 240.68 million metric tons, a decrease of 5.8%. A total of 1,350,000 passengers entered and exited through Taiwan's international commercial ports in 2015, a decrease of 2.0% compared with the year before.


 Major Operations



1.    The Port of Kaohsiung is Taiwan's largest international commercial port and shipping hub. The Intercontinental Container Terminal's first stage of construction, greatly increased the port's capacity, was completed and put into operation on January 5, 2011. In 2015, 10.26 million TEUs were handled. The Port of Keelung plays the main role in the northern area, and handled 1.45 million TEUs in 2015. Meeting a share of demand in northern Taiwan, a container and general cargo terminal in the Port of Taipei went into operation in 1998. Other construction at the port followed. A container storage and transportation center built with private investment was completed in February of 2009, bringing another two terminals into operation. On November 27, 2011, a third terminal went into operation. The port Taipei handled 1.33 million TEUs in 2015. The Port of Taichung provides a gateway to central Taiwan and promotes balanced regional development. It is also an important port for the import and export of energy and raw materials for heavy industry. In 2015 it handled 1.45 million TEUs. The Port of Hualien, on the other hand, is an important international port on Taiwan's east coast, playing an important role in connecting eastern Taiwan with the rest of the world. 

2.    With the opening up of direct cross-strait sea transport and current trends in international trade development, the MOTC pushed reforms for the management of commercial ports by separating the port authority from port business operations. The Port of Kaohsiung, with both sea and air links, is set to become a full-service logistics hub and a flagship port that offers value-added services. It will lead the way as a locomotive of economic development through free trade. The focus of the Port of Keelung is to provide logistics services for near-sea shipping and to serve as an anchor port in northern Taiwan for cross-strait passenger and cargo ships and international cruise ships. The Port of Taipei is focusing on transoceanic shipping and international logistics services for northern Taiwan. The Port of Taichung, focuses on near-sea shipping lines, and acting as a regional container feeder port. The port is also a warehousing and shipping center for oil and materials for Taiwan’s energy sector, heavy industry, and petrochemical companies. The Port of Hualien is positioned as a tourism port and will continue to provide services for the shipment of gravel, stone, and mined minerals from eastern Taiwan. Taiwan’s ports are thus looking to cooperate and provide synergies under the broad concept of “Internal Coordination of the Division of Labor, Integration of External Competition.”

3.    In order to modernize the port management system, the MOTC is following the global trend of separating the port authority from port business operations. By the end of 2011, the Statute for the Establishment of the State-owned Harbor Co., Ltd. and The Temporary Organization Regulations of Maritime and Port Bureau were formulated and The Commercial Port Law was amended. What’s more, the MOTC had set up the “Maritime and Port Bureau” to be the port authority and set up the “Taiwan International Ports Corporation, Ltd.” to handle port business operations in March 2012 for the purpose of boosting the efficiency and competitiveness of Taiwan’s ports and ultimately expanding Taiwan’s economic opportunities throughout the world.

4.    Building new, competitive port facilities on the islands of Kinmen and Matsu is an important component of Taiwan’s overall port development efforts. The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau and Keelung Harbor Bureau have established a joint task force to work with the MOTC on the construction of those ports. In Kinmen Harbor, Shuitou Port’s Wharfs No. 1 and No. 2 are under construction. The facilities in Matsu Harbor have been completed totally.

Major Innitiatives :-

  1. Taiwan’s port development strategy is designed to address changes in the shipping industry. Trends such as increased tonnage of containerships will likely lead transshipment operations to be increasingly focused on a small number of first-rate and well-equipped deep-water seaports. Development of Taiwan as a maritime transshipment center involves establishing the island as an East Asian hub for container transshipment and related cargo processing. What is more, facilitating the flow of goods between Taiwan and other East Asian countries will strengthen Taiwan’s role as an Asia-Pacific commercial hub and aid the island’s development as a manufacturing center.
  2. In response to the trends of globalization and trade liberalization, and to attract more foreign investment, Taiwan has developed Free Trade Zones (FTZs) at several of its international commercial ports: Kaohsiung, Keelung, Suao, Taichung, and Taipei. By the end of 2015, the operations of 80 FTZ enterprises had been approved. The port authorities in charge of these zones will continue to work to attract more businesses to move in.
  3. Aiming to turn harbor operations into a fully electronic and paperless system, and thereby raise operating efficiency, the MOTC has continued to make improvements to its Maritime Transport Network Portal (MTNet Portal). Currently, all ROC providers of shipping services handle applications associated with navigation administration and harbor and stevedore services through MTNet. With the rapid development of the Asia Pacific, the cruise ship tourism industry is steadily growing. The Asian market for cruises is considered a future star. Consequently, with the aim of turning Taiwan into a hub for cruise ship tourism, the ports of Kaohsiung and Keelung have been designated as “mother harbors for cruise ships,” and the MOTC has pushed the construction of harbor service buildings at both ports in the hope of promoting local logistics business through the development of the cruise ship industry.
  4. So as to raise efficiency, the MOTC will continue to push computerization and paperless port operations and to strengthen the functions of its one-stop service portal Maritime Transport Network (MTNet). Currently, the shipping industry uses MTNet for all applications related to maritime administration and port operations. 
  5. In accordance with the adoption of the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code of the International Maritime Organization, international ports in Taiwan will continue to strengthen port safety measures and schedule drills and exercises, thus raising Taiwan’s ports’ status and reputation for safety.
  6.  In order to maintain navigational safety and prevent water pollution in our waters, and to be in line with global trends, Taiwan has been carrying out inspections under the Port State Control (PSC) at its international commercial harbors, removing ships that do not satisfy international requirements.