Evergreen chief slams Taiwan government

Evergreen chief slams Taiwan government

Taiwan isn't paying adequate attention to the maritime sector and risks seeing the local-flag fleet disappear, the chairman of Evergreen Group said.

Chang Jung-fa blasted the administration of President Chen Shui-bian for what he views as long-term negligence in shipping policy. "The government's marine transportation policy has long been lost," said Chang, who quit as a presidential adviser earlier this year. Evergreen has substantial investments in China, made in hopes of

the advent of direct transport links.

Chang said the late President Chiang Ching-kuo's administration offered incentives to shipbuilders and a five-year tax holiday for the shipping industry. But his successors - Lee Teng-hui and Chen - had no maritime

policy, he said.

He told the China College of Marine Technology and Commerce that Taiwan might have no commercial ships flying its national flag if authorities continue to overlook the significance of the sector. As an indication of this, Chang noted that many ships of Evergreen Marine Corp. (Taiwan) Ltd. now fly the Union Jack; others were reflagged in Italy.

Chang also criticized Taiwan's policy toward China, saying Evergreen ships sail to any harbor in the world except those in China.

Shippers, carriers and others in the industry have long pressed for liberalization. Taiwan limits "direct" sailings to routes involving at least one stop between the two sides, and inbound Chinese cargo is in effect quarantined at an "offshore" zone in the southern Port of

Kaohsiung.