November 24, 2021 — The 2021 Excellent Ports Forum, organized by the Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) was held on November 16th at Kaohsiung Exhibition Center. MOTC Deputy Minister Wen-jong Chi gave the welcoming address, focusing on the fruits of ongoing efforts to upgrade basic infrastructures and implement intelligent transport systems (ITS) at Taiwan’s international commercial ports amidst current domestic and global industry challenges. Deputy Minister Chi commended Port of Kaohsiung for earning Taiwan’s first-ever global IAPH World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP) award for resilient physical infrastructure this year. TIPC’s 2021 Excellent Ports Forum, he remarked, continues the good work of promoting and extending excellence at all of the nation’s ports. The forum, attended by key representatives from national and local government agencies, academia, and the shipping and information and communication technology sectors, is designed to provide a platform for sharing key trend insights and experiences and holding comprehensive discussions on the policies underpinning Taiwan’s port enhancement initiatives, with the goal of ensuring stable, sustainable growth in the shipping sector.

In his opening remarks, TIPC President Shao-liang Chen noted the vital role played by his nation’s international commercial ports in maintaining and strengthening Taiwan’s connectivity with the global supply chain. Optimizing the ‘quality’ of port operations going forward, he emphasized, will be crucial to sustaining the competitiveness of Taiwan’s commercial ports and related industry ecosystems in today’s sharply competitive international shipping sector. Thus, to help lay the groundwork necessary for sustained competitiveness, TIPC defined Safety, Efficiency, Intelligence, and Sustainability as central themes of the 2021 Excellent Ports Forum, with in-depth discussions focused on digital transformation and low-carbon sustainability.

The forum program was in-depth and diverse. A forum highlight was TIPC’s discussion of its concept to open ports as sites for testing and demonstrating innovative technologies. The corporation further invited forum attendees to witness the official opening of the TIPC port group 5G-AIOT innovative tech testing site, with domestic and overseas startups and technology companies encouraged to consider Taiwan’s domestic and international commercial ports as proof-of-concept testing sites for their innovative technologies. The forum subsequently launched into four in-depth panel discussions on the topics of Creating Excellent Ports for Tomorrow’s Safe International Shipping Network, New Opportunities for Green Port Sustainable Development, Flipping the Future with 5G-AIOT, and The Advent of Blockchain Application Services in Shipping and Port Operations. MOTC Deputy Minister Chi, Deloitte Senior Executive Vice President Cathy Lee, Kaohsiung City Deputy Mayor Ta-sheng Lo, and TIPC Executive Vice President Kuo-ming Chang served as panel moderators. Invited panel speakers included TIPC Vice President for Business Ying-feng Chung, Maritime Port Bureau Deputy Director-General Pin-chuan Chen, Evergreen Marine Vice President Teng-huan Su, former National Marine Pilot Association Director Henry H.L. Ding, ECCT Low Carbon Initiative Director Sammy Su, ITRI Green Energy & Environmental Research Laboratories Director Dr. Joseph R.C. Wang, NSYSU Associate Professor Shiau-Yun Lu, Ship and Ocean Industries R&D Center Section Chief Chun-ting Chen, Chunghwa Telecom President Harrison S.Y. Kuo, Far EasTone President Ching Chee, NTT Taiwan Solutions CEO Frank Liao, Asia New Bay Area 5G-AIOT Office Senior Deputy Director Chia-hung Wei, Nomura Research Institute (NRI) Taiwan President Cheng-wu Chang, former Maersk Taiwan Senior President Teh-sung Cheng, NKUST Office of Marine Science and Technology Director Dr. Hui-huang Tai, NKUST Department of Shipping & Transportation Management Assistant Professor Ting-yi Tsai, and Trade-Van Information Services President Kuo-feng Kao.

The panel discussions on Creating Excellent Ports for Tomorrow’s Safe International Shipping Network addressed key issues including new infrastructure necessary to service the needs of increasingly large commercial vessels, north-south shipping route planning, and navigational safety needs. Those on New Opportunities for Green Port Sustainable Development addressed carbon reduction measures, carbon trading, ship energy management, and port sustainable development in the context of carbon-neutral and carbon net-zero-emission trends. The discussions on Flipping the Future with 5G-AIOT took a close, analytical look at the evolution of global mobile telecom and network technologies, recent advances in Taiwan’s 5G technologies and related applications, the diversification in AIOT applications, and related policies at the Asia New Bay Area 5G-AIOT Innovation Park. Finally, the panel discussions on The Advent of Blockchain Application Services in Shipping and Port Operations focused on recent cooperation between TIPC and Trade-Van Information Services to develop a paperless, blockchain-based container collection / bill-of-lading application that may be integrated with information, goods, and financial data streams to further enhance overall shipping market efficiencies.

This event provided a rare opportunity for experts and scholars from various organizations to discuss and exchange ideas and perspectives on current industry trends and operations. The vibrant scene raised a myriad of exciting new ‘excellent port’ development opportunities and perspectives. Moreover, this event gave a stage to various new innovative smart-tech applications, including the many mobile solutions currently in various stages of development under the Transform Sustainable, Modern, and Advanced Ports with Revolutionary Technology (Trans-SMART) Plan as well as new tech company offerings such as port patrol drones, water & land-based unmanned vehicle applications, smart image-recognition systems, smart multifunctional IoT management, and smart passenger service applications.

The 2021 Excellent Ports Forum marks a solid beginning for cross-sectoral dialogue and sharing between the shipping and technology sectors. The diverse spectrum of participation and cooperation achieved in this event bodes well for the successful digital transformation of Taiwan’s maritime shipping sector and its advance into a new era of low-carbon sustainability. All participants had a hand in laying the groundwork for a forward-looking, progressive vision for Taiwan port excellence that will ensure the future of the TIPC port group (and its subsidiary ports) as a safe, highly efficient, intelligent, sustainable, and modern service organization.