Taiwan’s major ports secure new investments

A total of 18 Taiwan firms will invest NT$55.4 billion (US$1.91 billion) in four local ports over the next five years, providing a shot in the arm for the island’s economy, according to Taiwan International Ports Corp.

The firms, which are expected to sign letters of intent with state-run TIPC Nov. 16 in Taipei city, will establish operations in the designated industry zones of Kaohsiung, Keelung, Hualien and Taichung ports.

“The new ventures cover a wide range of sectors, including logistics equipment and services, energy, food processing and petrochemicals,” a TIPC official said.

An NT$35.6 billion mega project by Taipei-based China Petrochemical Development Corp. accounts for the lion’s share of the petrochemicals investment. The firm plans to set up facilities for producing chemical fibers and industrial petrochemical materials, as well as two terminals for liquid chemicals.

Kuokuang Petrochemical Technology Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of state-run refinery CPC Corp., will spend NT$10 billion on a methyl methacrylate (MMA) plant in Taichung. The company had planned to build a naphtha cracker in Malaysia, but decided to move part of the investment home after experiencing difficulty in land procurement.

Industry experts describe MMA as a high-value petrochemical material with a wide range of applications. “Kuokuang’s move is a positive response to the government policy goal of promoting petrochemical production and balancing economic growth with environmental protection,” they said.

As part of preparations for these new projects, phase two of Kaohsiung Port’s Intercontinental Container Terminal will commence construction in early 2013.

The much-vaunted project includes 10 petrochemicals terminals, four bulk cargo terminals and 47.2 hectares of land for petrochemicals and oil product storage, the official said.

Meg Chang