Maersk Line pulls out of Taiwanese hub port
Maersk Line is pulling out of the Taiwanese port of Kaohsiung.
The box carrier the told the maritime news service TradeWinds that the decision was part of its global strategy.
Maersk Line, the world"s largest container shipping line, rents two docks in Kaohsiung harbour but will let the contract expire in May.
Reports said it was re-focusing operations across the Taiwan Strait in the Chinese port of Xiamen, where APM Terminals, a business unit of Maersk Line"s parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk, is building a four-berth box terminal.
A spokesman for Maersk Asia, however, told TradeWinds that the decision to pull out of Kaohsiung was not linked to investments in Xiamen ?or any other port?.
Observers said the Maersk decision was a new blow to the Kaohsiung, which has seen its share of the regional container market shrink in recent years.
Between 2006 and 2009 container numbers fell from 10.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) a year to 8.5 million TEUs.
Bunker sales in Kaohsiung have also been falling.
In 2006 they were estimated to be around 1.7 million metric tonnes (mt). Two years later they had fallen to 1.46 million mt.
A forecast by the Chinese bunker supplier Chimbusco last year predicted they would fall still further in the next five years.