November 10, 2020 — As part of ongoing work to improve the quality of service available to international cruise line operators at Taiwan’s international commercial ports, Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) subsidiary Port of Keelung has implemented a new berth allocation system for cruise ships, issued new ‘Principles for Allocating Berths for International Cruise Ships at the Port of Keelung’, and created the ‘Port of Keelung International Cruise Ship Schedule Forecasting System’. These pioneering actions are the first of their kind among Asia’s cruise ship ports, underscoring the exceptional ‘soft power’ of Taiwan’s ports.
Standard practice up until this year has required the submission of a written application and a pre-signed contract for a cruise ship berth as well as a formal meeting at least three months in advance of the planned arrival. In addition to the costs and time involved, this process was unable to smoothly handle adjustments and changes to agreed-upon scheduling arrangements. The new forecasting system allows cruise ships to make berthing arrangements up to 18 months in advance and provides procedures for resolving berth-allocation conflicts, changes, and adjustment requests. This ‘reservation’-type website platform takes the place of the former paper-based application process and significantly simplifies application and review procedures as well as resolves key cruise ship company concerns about berthing information clarity. The new system, which came into effect at the beginning of this year (2020), has earned high marks from cruise ship operators and significantly streamlined related operations.
An official statement by the Port of Keelung noted that, although the ongoing pandemic has kept Taiwan’s ports closed to regular international cruise ship operations, in expectation of the gradual reopening of these lines, the new Cruise Ship Schedule Forecasting System has already been used to confirm berth scheduling arrangements through October of 2022. The system is expected to greatly improve related operating efficiencies at the port, optimize the use of the Port of Keelung’s cruise ship berths, and further advance the port toward its ‘smart port’ objectives.