Taiwan’s four port authorities, Keelung, Taichung, Kaohsiung, and Hualien, were originally administrative units under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. For years, these units acted as a public authority and took charge of port business management in a quasi-governmental role. Under such a setup, their legitimacy and fairness was questioned and port development was restricted by the complexity of the regulatory environment. Their lack of flexibility and responsiveness to market changes impeded port development and consequently suppressed the development of international competitiveness. Therefore, in the planning of government organizational reform, known issues and problems were raised and a decision to separate business management from the administrative system was made with reference to the maritime management systems of other developed nations. Under this framework, the four port authorities were consolidated into the Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) and the Taiwan International Ports Corporation Ltd. The former acts as a government body in charge of maritime and port-related public administration, and the latter is an independent business in charge of business management and development.
The Taiwan International Ports Corporation Ltd. Establishment Act was promulgated on November 9, 2011. However, the corresponding Organization Act of the MPB of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure was not officially promulgated. To continue reforms, the MPB moved to establish the Provisional Organization Regulations of the MPB of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, including detailed administrative guidelines and staff organization, based on Article 36 of the Basic Code Governing Central Administrative Agencies Organizations. This provisional plan was submitted to the Executive Yuan and approved by document no. 1002261596 on December 16, 2011. With this as a basis, the MPB and Taiwan International Ports Corporation Ltd. were simultaneously founded on March 1, 2012. The MPB is staffed with the Offices of Planning Division, Maritime Affairs Division, Vessel Management Division, Port Affairs Division, Crew Management Division, Maritime Safety Division, Secretariat, Personnel Office, Civil Service Ethics Office, Comptroller Office, Information Management Office and four Maritime Affairs Centers - North, Central, South, and East. The lighthouse management unit originally organized under the Customs Administration, Ministry of Finance, was officially reorganized into and reestablished as the Navigation Safety Division under the new MPB on January 1, 2013.
The initial organization of the MPB on March 1 was planned with a staff of 647 persons. The existing 270 employees from the four original port authorities were directly transferred to the MPB, which takes up 41.73% of the staff body. Restricted by personnel laws and regulations, the MPB was not authorized to recruit new staff. To efficiently handle affairs on such a scale, the MPB negotiated with other offices of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to transfer 10 staff members to temporary posts, and three staff members are appointed as acting proxies for designated posts. Partial operations were contracted out to private businesses, and eight categories of operations were commissioned to the Taiwan International Ports Corporation Ltd.
By January 2013, 50 staff originally organized for lighthouse and navigation services under the Ministry of Finance and 126 navigation technicians were successfully transferred to the MPB and established the Navigation Safety Division. The total headcount was amended to 845 persons.
The organization law for the MPB has not been officially promulgated. The MPB made an amendment to the provisional organization regulations on January 1, 2013, and adopted the civil service employee system. The original personnel system is still applicable to the staff of transportation and information administration and customs. The amended provisional organization regulations have been submitted to the Executive Yuan for approval and the Examination Yuan for filing. The related posts are being classified for civil service ranking and recruitment is on going.