The Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) of the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) hosted the "New Maritime Shipping Order in the Post-pandemic Era" International Forum at the International Conference Hall of the Institute of Transportation, MOTC today (10/21) to explore issues such as restructuring of the global supply chain and marine tourism facilitated by the network of blue highways, and to discuss the challenges and opportunities that Taiwan's maritime shipping industry faces in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the witness of Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Chong of the MOTC, President Wu Cheng-Chih of National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) and Director-General Yeh Hsieh-Lung of the MPB signed a memorandum of understanding on the internationalization of maritime shipping talent cultivation. More than 200 overseas and domestic experts from industry, government and academia specializing in maritime shipping attended the event in hopes that Taiwan's maritime shipping industry can take full advantage of the restructuring that the global supply chain is undergoing in the post-pandemic era and timely deploy the blue highways strategy to drive the overall development of the marine industry.
In his speech, Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Chong observed that 2020 is a special year indeed, and that while the US-China trade war continues as COVID-19 impacts the global economy, a few major trends are transforming the layout of the global supply chain which is controlled primarily by multinational conglomerates. As these companies gradually shift from global division of labor to regional division of labor, the multinational supply chain is also moving along two directions of development, dispersed multi-regionalization and localization, while corporations shift from the "Just in time (JIT)" production model to the "Just in case (JIC)" model. With smart production technologies such as AI, IoT and 5G gradually maturing, production sites have reassembled around consumption sites and irrevocably changed the pattern of consumption. All of these major trends are closely connected with the development and deployment of the shipping industry, while enhanced digital capabilities are even more crucial to fully grasping the flow of goods and the provision of quality services going forward. On the other hand, border control has almost entirely suspended cruise and international tourism activities, and given us the opportunity to reimagine how the blue highways project and marine tourism can play an even more dominant role in the post-pandemic era. For instance, by facilitating the resumption of cruise ship services following initial worldwide lockdown, Taiwan has gained much visibility in the global cruise industry.
The maritime shipping industry has remained largely stagnant due to a weak global economy since March 2012 when the MPB was first established. With the concerted efforts of the industry, however, the outlook has grown more positive starting from Q3 this year. While we hope and expect this upward trend to continue, now is also the time for us to regroup and refocus. As Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Chong stresses, Taiwan's shipping industry must take full advantage of the restructuring of the global supply chain in the post-pandemic era and gain a firm foothold in the new ecosystem. He also hopes that Taiwan's blue highways will, following a decade of policy guidance, become known for first-class services while driving the entire overall development of the marine tourism industry.
Prior to the commencement of the forum, MPB Director-General Yeh Hsieh-Lung and NTNU President Wu Cheng-Chih signed a memorandum of understanding on the internationalization of maritime shipping talent cultivation under the witness of MOTC Administrative Deputy Minister Chi Wen-Chong. This perfectly resonates with the policy instructions of "enhancing bilingual capabilities and broadening international perspective" issued by Premier Su Tseng-Chang after hearing the National Development Council’s strategic report on ensuring adequate manpower in three major sectors in the post-pandemic era. As such, the signing of the MOU between the MPB and NTNU is sure to bring for Taiwan's maritime shipping industry greater international visibility and competitiveness.
Evergreen Marine President Eric Hsieh, invited speaker at the forum, shared his thoughts and perspectives in a talk entitled "New maritime shipping order in the Post-pandemic era", while Chairperson Cathy Chin of the Taiwan International Logistics and Supply Chain Association and Professor Wayne H. Liu of the National Kaohsiung University of Hospitality and Tourism respectively served as moderators for the sup-topics "A guide to restructuring maritime supply chain value" and "Strategy and deployment of new blueprints for the network of blue highways." A great number of distinguished guests from industry, government and academia including International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations Asia-Pacific President Adelaide Yang, President Laurent Balian of Fatton Transports Taiwan, President Alex Shih of Tonglit Logistics, Chairman Eddy Tao of Novatec Yachts Taiwan, Director of Tourism and Transportation Adila of the Indonesian Economic and Trade Office to Taipei, Director Wang Mao-Chen of the Ocean Affairs Council and Deputy Secretary-General Kuo Tien-Kuei of Kaohsiung City Government were invited to speak at the event or serve as commentators for panel presentations. With regard to the sub-topic on restructuring the maritime shipping supply chain, the commentators suggested reinforcing Taiwan's digital capabilities while discussion of the blue highways focused on prioritizing sea recreational activities, which have been underappreciated in the past, as the pandemic continues to impact overseas travel by enhancing accessibility and improving service quality.
As a country that's highly dependent on the ocean and all it has to offer, MPB hopes that under the policy goals of "People-centric Transportation" and "Maximizing Industry Revenue" formulated by the MOTC, Taiwan's maritime industry will take the opportunity of this forum to gather the opinions and recommendations of different sectors for pragmatically conducting industry upgrades in the post-pandemic era, thereby comprehensively optimizing Taiwan's maritime shipping environment and ensuring the industry sails forward into a better and brighter future.