Taiwan's newest port, the Port of Taipei, will start operation next week to boost Taiwan's shipping links with China and other countries, the port said on Friday.
Two container wharfs of Port of Taipei will start operation Wednesday, with one more container wharf being built each year until 2014. In the first year of operation, the port will handle 750,000 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent unit), the port said in a statement, dpa reported.
The Port of Taipei is being built in stages. When the construction is finished in 2014, there will be seven container wharfs capable of handling 4 million TEUs annually. There will also be wharfs for bulk carriers, which are still being built.
That will be about half of the container volume of Taiwan's largest port - Kaohsiung Harbour - which handled 8.97 million TEUs in 2008.
The depth of Port of Taipei's container wharfs is 15.5-16 metres.
Port of Taipei will engage Taiwan-China direct shipping in March, making it easier and cheaper for Taiwan firms to send their goods to China.
Taiwan currently has four large ports - the ports of Kaohsiung, Taichung, Keelung and Hualien. Their competitiveness has been dwindling due to Taiwan's six-decade ban on direct sea links with China and the expansion of ports in neighbouring countries, especially China.
Taiwan lifted the ban on direct sea links with China in December.
The Port of Taipei sits at the mouth of the Tamsui River and faces the Taiwan Strait. It is 27 kilometres from Taipei city and 246 kilometres from China.
While the Port of Taipei will boost Taiwan's shipping industry, it will hurt the business of Kaohsiung port in southern Taiwan.
"In the coming years, we estimate that each year, the Port of Taipei will absorb some 1 million TEUs which are being shipped overseas via the Kaohsiung Harbour," Tsai Ting-yi, harbour master of Kaohsiung Harbour, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.