TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan will see 46 new container ships enter service this year amid a global container shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country's freight businesses have promised the total 330,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) capacity of the 46 vessels will prioritize the needs of local exporters and importers, said the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC).
This is part of the ministry’s effort to monitor the global shipping market and coordinate available resources through a task force established last November. As 95 percent of its trade relies on maritime transport, Taiwan is working to reduce its vulnerability to the pandemic-induced container crunch that has hit businesses worldwide.
According to the MOTC, the number of Taiwanese exporters experiencing container shortage woes has been cut from 97 in January to 9 in February. However, the third quarter could present another challenge, as the country traditionally sees robust import and export demand from July to September.
Taiwan’s exports jumped 36.8 percent year on year in January, boosted by demand for chips and the zero-touch economy as well as last year's low base. The Ministry of Finance provided a rosy export outlook in the first quarter, with the semiconductor sector set to benefit from the global digital economy transformation.