Taiwan-China direct shipping opens Dec. 15
Direct shipping links between Taiwan and mainland China are expected to formally open Dec. 15 after a pact signed Nov. 4 goes into effect.
Press outlets reported that services may start soon after the Taiwanese government finally lifts a five-decade-old ban on such links, with COSCO Shipping Line reported to be starting a Tianjin/Kaohsiung route that week. The Chinese government is urging services to begin from mainland ports Shanghai, Dalian, Qingdao, Xiamen, Fuzhou and Taicang to connect with the island.
In June, governments in Beijing and Taipei cemented a detente from more than 50 years of tension since the end of the Chinese Civil War. A major component was the establishment of direct transport links between the mainland and Taiwan, something that would ease travel and cargo flow. Earlier this year, President Ma Ying-jeou swept into power as Taiwan’s voters seemed to favor better ties with the mainland.
Direct shipping links would help carriers and shippers avoid costly transshipment through Hong Kong and a Japanese port near Taiwan that served only to help cargo bypass political constraints. The direct links might also help make Taiwan’s ports more attractive to carriers as a point of transshipment to southwestern China. At one time, Kaohsiung was one of the biggest container ports in the world, but it has steadily been falling down the pecking order, even within Asia. ' Eric Johnson