Since the opening of the Mini Three Links in Kinmen and Matsu, the number of passengers has increased from 30,000 passengers in 2001 to 1.81 million in 2017. As of the first half of 2018, the number of passengers reached 910,000, representing an increase of 36,000 from the same period in the previous year. The number of passengers this year may reach record highs.
The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications stated that in response to the continuous increase of passengers in the Mini Three Links each year, the MPB has gradually implemented an evaluation system on fixed passenger routes, replaced old ships, implemented NSM management systems, and organized advanced border inspection for the Mini Three Links with the goal of improving the quality of services, navigation safety, and shipping optimization. This, in turn, will provide high quality services and safe and convenient transportation services. The average age of passenger vessels has dropped from 20 years to 4 years over the past 3 years. The effects were substantial.
In addition, the MPB announced the implementation of the "National Vessel Safety Management (NSM)" system and assistance program on August 10, 2017. Operators of the passenger routes in the Mini Three Links have commenced certification procedures. Standard management procedures are adopted to effectively improve operators' corporate governance and improve navigation safety. To reduce the time required to board and disembark vessels and the waiting time required for passing through customs for passengers from Matsu on the Beigan-Huangqi route, we coordinated with CIQS (customs, immigration, quarantine, and security) units to organize customs operations in Nangan directly starting in September 2017.