This morning (16th), Yeh Hsieh-Lung, then Director of the Department of Navigation and Aviation, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), was formally appointed as Director-General of the Maritime and Port Bureau (MPB), MOTC in the handover ceremony presided by Wang Kwo-Tsai, Political Deputy Minister of MOTC, with former Director-General Kuo Tien-Kuei to assume the post of Deputy Secretary-General of Kaohsiung City Government. Delegates from all major shipping associations in Taiwan attended the ceremony. The newly appointed MPB Director-General, Yeh Hsieh-Lung, is 52 years old and holds 3 master's degrees from the EMBA program of National Taiwan University; Department of Transportation and Logistics Management, National Chiao Tung University; and Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology. He has previously served in the MOTC Department of Navigation and Aviation as Port Affairs Section Chief, Senior Executive Officer, Deputy Director, and Director, demonstrating experience and expertise in maritime and port affairs. The shipping industry is looking forward to Director-General Yeh's leadership which is sure to create new visions for maritime and port affairs and an environment of even higher quality for shipping operations.
In his appointment speech, Director-General Yeh expressed gratitude to Minister Lin Chia-Lung for the opportunity to contribute to the development of Taiwan's maritime and port operations. Surrounded by the sea, much of Taiwan's economy is reliant on maritime transportation. Thanks to the efforts of those dedicated to maritime transportation over the years, Taiwan has gained a considerable presence in the global market for maritime transportation. In particular, since the establishment of the MPB in March 2012, its Director-Generals and dedicated staff have established comprehensive management systems and gained the Bureau excellent ratings in international assessments. In recent years, moreover, efforts to drive the cruise and yachting industries in Taiwan have yielded fruitful results under former Director-General Guo's insightful leadership.
With regard to future directions of development for MPB affairs, Yeh Hsieh-Lung states that safety is the foundation of all operations, while passenger and cargo transportation services are the core of maritime and port affairs. On this basis, and under the guidance of policies including the Executive Yuan's Ocean Taiwan and the MOTC's "People-Centric Transportation" and "Maximizing Industry Revenue," he 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 plan for blue highways, and plan and promote the optimization and upgrade of the shipping industry. It is hoped that, under the "Golden Triangle of Ports" framework, solid developments will be seen in all aspects of MPB affairs and operations.
In terms of enhancing navigation and port safety, Director-General Yeh pointed out that the MPB will focus on the four major aspects of personnel (seafarers), vessels, environment, and emergency response, and further enhance the control of hazardous substances 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 Year of Island-Hopping Tourism based on the four key focuses of the overall ten-year plan for blue highways: "navigation," "port," "vessel," and "tour." In doing so, MPB hopes to comprehensively optimize environment and services in accordance with passenger needs and perceptions. Therefore, passenger transportation facilities at various ports must be improved as soon as possible while the acquisition and construction plan for the new Tai Hwa and Taima Star cruise ships, which are eagerly anticipated by residents of offshore islands, must be expedited. In addition, in the post-COVID-19 era, maritime tourism should play a more important role in the domestic tourism market. Therefore, yachting tourism and industrialization, further expansion of the benefits of the cruising industry, and introduction of exploratory cruise ships that directly land at offshore islands will be the future focuses of development. In terms of optimizing cargo transportation services and environment, as cargo is the fundamental business of the shipping industry, the government has over the years provided many forms of assistance to shipping operators. Therefore, to further assist operators in enhancing their international competitiveness, MPB will widely consult the shipping industry and academia and emulate international standard practices so as to plan and propose a more comprehensive and forward-looking plan for optimizing and upgrading Taiwan's shipping industry, thereby promoting its sustainable development.
Yeh Hsieh-Lung stresses that he will inspire his colleagues at 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. He will also encourage employees to exert their imaginations and abilities of execution to complete tasks with speed and precision so as to achieve the visions and goals of "People-Centric Ports and Strong Maritime Transport" and "Quality Environment and Sustainable Shipping." Lastly, Director-General Yeh invited the public to contribute support and advice to the Bureau in joint efforts to ensure a better future for Taiwan's shipping industry!