KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan — The number of containers handled at Kaohsiung harbor in southern Taiwan during the first eight months of this year showed no growth from the same period of 2007, prompting worries that the port might not maintain its status as one of the top 10 container ports in the world.
Officials at the Department of Aviation and Navigation under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications pointed out that Kaohsiung port handled 6.72 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) between January and August —the same level as during the corresponding period in 2007.
Previously released official statistics showed that for the January-August period of 2007, Kaohsiung harbor recorded an increase of 4.4 percent, or 283,380 TEUs, over the same period of 2006.
For all of 2007, the port handled 10.25 million TEUs, setting a new record and representing an increase of 4.9 percent over the previous year.
Kaohsiung was the world’s third-largest container port in 2000, but its ranking has slipped in recent years. It retained its status as the sixth-largest container port in the world in 2006, but it slipped two places to become No. 8 in 2007.
The stagnant growth in container handling volume in the first eight months has triggered concern among officials about whether Kaohsiung port might be removed from the top 10 list this year.
Kaohsiung is currently lagging behind the five ports that ranked from first to fifth last year: Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, and Busan. It is also behind China’s Ningbo and Guangzhou ports, which placed 11th and 12th, respectively, last year.
Because the other three ports — Dubai, Rotterdam and Hamburg — that ranked sixth, seventh and ninth, respectively, last year still have not publicized updated container volume statistics, it is unclear whether Kaohsiung can remain among the top 10 container ports in the world.