February 20, 2021 — To address the issues of container shortage and increase in freight rates due to the epidemic, the Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) has invited relevant units to formulate an International Maritime Transport Stability Working Group, and also established an “International Maritime Transport Stability Section” on its official website yesterday (1/15) evening (https://www.motcmpb.gov.tw/Home/Node?siteId=1&nodeId=10123), providing information on additional vessels, voyages and cargo space as well as number of empty containers, freight rate trends and means of inquiry, etc. for reference by members of the import/export industry. By making this information accessible, the MPB hopes to reduce the imbalance of supply and demand in the global shipping market and mitigate the impact of cargo space and container shortage. Going forward, the MPB will continue to expand the scope of information made available in accordance with the guidance of the Ministry of Transportations and Communications and the meeting resolutions of the working group, thereby ensuring all types of goods manufactured in Taiwan are successfully exported and maintaining the momentum of Taiwan’s economic growth.
The MPB furthermore stated that the “International Maritime Transport Stability Section” was established on the Bureau’s official website as instructed by Director-General Yeh Hsieh-Lung at the 1st meeting of the International Maritime Transport Stability Working Group. To achieve the goal of supporting domestic manufacturers using Taiwan’s shipping capacity, the MPB collects and publishes information on the maritime market, enabling importers and exporters to arrange the import and export of goods with better ease and convenience. Following a series of urgent meetings with domestic carriers and major import and export goods companies convened by the MPB as well as requests made to domestic carriers to review their fleet capacity, line capacity, new ship orders and delivery dates, additional voyages and cargo space have been preliminarily arranged for the months of January and February of 2021, effectively easing capacity shortage for the Asia-US west coast, Asia-US east coast and Intra-Asia shipping lines. In addition to the above, other important information such as the accelerated launch of new ships into the market has also been made available in the International Maritime Transport Stability Section along with the shipping schedules of domestic and foreign operators so that importers and exporters can fully utilize the increase in shipping capacity to expedite the import and export of goods.
The MPB further stated that, to assist a portion of operators in overcoming the difficulty of obtaining empty containers, the MPB has also coordinated with the Container Terminal Transport Association R.O.C. to assist in surveys of empty container storage conditions at major domestic terminals, as well as consolidating relevant information and publishing such information in the International Maritime Transport Stability Section of the MPB official site. Furthermore, to prevent unscrupulous businesses from driving up the freight rate and disrupting the pricing mechanism of the international shipping market, the MPB has announced legally verified freight rates, regularly tracks the Freightos Baltic Index (FBX) published by internationally renowned freight marketplace Freightos, and announces freight rate trends for 40-foot containers on major international lines via the International Maritime Transport Stability Section to help importers and exporters monitor changes in freight rates in the domestic and international shipping markets, and adjust orders to reflect freight rates in a timely manner.
As supply and demand in the global shipping market is still fluctuating, the MPB will continue to closely monitor relevant information and coordinate communications between relevant agencies (institutions), domestic carriers and importers/exporters under the guidance of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications via meetings convened by the International Maritime Transport Stability Working Group. All relevant information will be published in the “International Maritime Transport Stability Section” on the MPB official website, thus supporting related industries in overcoming the crisis of global shortages in containers and cargo space, ensuring Taiwan’s import/export activities carry on as normal, and maintaining Taiwan’s competitiveness in international trade.