World's largest container line Maersk to quit Taiwan.
The world's largest container line AP Moller- Maersk plans to quit Taiwan to boost its investment in China. Danish headquartered Maersk has not yet announced the plan yet, but the news broke after 200 dock workers at the Kaohsiung harbour went on strike Wednesday to demand severance pay from Maersk.
Talks between the stevedores and Maersk's Taiwan manager collapsed as Maersk claimed it hired the workers through a local firm, so the local firm should issue the severance pay.
The Liberty Times showed the dockhands on strike, holding a banner with the words 'Maersk, Where is Your Conscience?!'
'We have worked for Maersk for many years and never got a pay raise. Now Maersk is leaving and does not want to give us severance pay. That is too cruel,' Chen Hsien-tsung, head of the stevedores' self-help group, was quoted by the Central News Agency as saying.
Maersk used to lease four container terminals at the Kaohsiung harbour, Taiwan's largest port, but cut its terminals to two last year, the Liberty Times said.
Maersk has decided not to renew the lease for the two terminals when it expires in May, so that it can boost investment in China's Xiaoman port, the paper said.
AP Moller-Maersk, with 500 vessels, is the world's largest container line. Its leaving Taiwan will deal a new blow to the Kaohsiung harbour, which was the world's number 3 container port in the 1980s but its ranking has been slipping in recent years due to the expansion of ports in neighbouring countries, especially China.
In the past three years, the harbour's container volume has been falling sharply - from 10.3 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) in 2007 to 9.7 million TEUs in 2008 and 8.5 million TEUs in 2009.