Since Taiwan is an island nation, and with more than 90% of its imports and exports depending on cargo transportation by sea, maritime transportation is an essential lifeline for the country's economy. In order to enhance the competitiveness and management efficiency of Taiwan's maritime industry and ports, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) completed the maritime and ports management system reform of "separation of executive branch and business enterprise" on March 1, 2012, and established the Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB) as the regulatory authority of Taiwan's maritime transportation (shipping administration authority). The MPB is responsible for the supervision and management, and policy proposal of the shipping industry, vessels, seafarers, maritime affairs, and commercial ports. Thanks to the ongoing efforts of past director generals and colleagues to create a sound shipping business environment, the MPB has established a comprehensive management system and has reaped fruitful results. Some of its international accolades include Taiwan's inclusion on the "Tokyo MOU" white list, and being recognized by the U.S. as a “flag administration for the quality shipping for the 21st (QUALSHIP 21) program.
However, shipping is an international industry with a global market, and in recent years, it has not only been affected by the economic slowdown and overcapacity of ships, but also the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the global economy and trade to its knees. Therefore, the only way to cope with the ever-changing international shipping environment is to keep improving our efforts. As the helmsman of the MPB, and under the guidance of policies including the Executive Yuan's "We Pay Our Tribute to the Sea" and the MOTC's "People-Centric Transportation" and "Industrial Prosperity," I will direct MPB colleagues to work towards the comprehensive optimization of passenger and cargo services and maritime transportation environment, accelerate the implementation of the overall ten-year development plan for blue highways, and plan and promote the optimization and upgrade of the shipping industry based on the principle of enhancing maritime and port safety. It is hoped that, under the "Golden Triangle of Maritime and Ports" framework, solid developments will be seen in all aspects of MPB affairs and operations.
In terms of enhancing navigation and port safety, the MPB will focus on the four major aspects of personnel (seafarers), vessels, environment, and emergency response, and further enhance the control of Dangerous Goods at ports. In particular, in response to the development of offshore wind energy, MPB will prioritize the promotion of smart navigation safety, using technologies and integrating resources from related units to establish management systems that align perfectly with international standards and thereby achieving prevention of and effective responses to disasters. In terms of optimizing passenger services, the MPB will be prepared for the 2023 Island-Hopping Tourism Year based on the four key focuses of the overall ten-year development plan for blue highways: "navigation," "port," "vessel," and "tourism." In doing so, the MPB hopes to comprehensively optimize the environment and services in accordance with passenger demands and perceptions. Therefore, passenger transportation facilities at various ports must be improved as soon as possible, and the acquisition and construction plan for the New Taiwan-Penghu Ferry and New Taima Ferry, which are eagerly anticipated by residents of offshore islands, must be expedited. In addition, in the post-COVID-19 era, maritime tourism must play a more important role in the domestic tourism market; therefore, yacht tourism and its industrialization, the expansion of benefits in the cruise industry, and the introduction of exploratory cruise ships that directly land on offshore islands will be the future focuses of development. In terms of optimizing cargo transportation services and protecting the environment, as cargo is the fundamental business of the shipping industry, the government has provided many forms of assistance to shipping operators over the years. However, more comprehensive planning would more effectively help the industry to enhance its international competitiveness. Therefore, the MPB will widely consult the shipping industry and academia, and emulate international standard practices to plan the optimization and upgrading of Taiwan's shipping industry, thereby promoting its sustainable development.
Looking to the future, I will inspire my colleagues at the MPB to keep up with international trends by seeking advice from industry and academia, making use of technologies, policies, and external professional resources, and exercising cross-industry collaboration and coordination. I will also encourage employees to exert their imagination and abilities of execution to complete tasks with speed and precision, imagine the wonders brought by shipping, give full play to their creativity, and use their skills to find professional and effective methods, so as to achieve the visions and goals of "People-Centric Maritime Industry and Ports and Strong Maritime Transport" and "Quality Environment and Sustainable Shipping."