Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Role of Offshore Shipping Centres in Transportation Management: An Empirical Study of Management and Employee Attitudes

Academic journal article International Journal of Management

The Role of Offshore Shipping Centres in Transportation Management: An Empirical Study of Management and Employee Attitudes

Article excerpt

In 1997, Taiwan launched the Kaohsiung Harbor Offshore Shipping Center, which the Taiwan government regarded as a "third place for sea-trade," apart from Taiwan and PR China. This study analyzes the attitudes of administrators and employees of shipping companies and port authority towards the role of the offshore shipping center and the problems it has encountered. A total of 160 questionnaires were distributed to subjects randomly sampled from four various business units of Taiwan's three main shipping companies and the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau. The results of this study reflect their views on the development of the "offshore shipping center" concept. The respondents hoped that governments on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will continue talks and negotiation, so that regular commercial activities can be further developed.


The political and economic relationships between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been disrupted as a result of 'civil' war since 1949. The communication and transportation links between the mainland China and Taiwan were completely severed, and even ships from third places were banned from navigating directly between the two sides. Until November 1987, when Taiwan allowed its people to visit their relatives in Mainland China, personnel, cargo, and ships were routed through third places such as Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines.

In response to the return of Hong Kong to Mainland China's sovereignty and to surpass the political hurdles of no direct navigation, Taiwan created the "Offshore Shipping Center" in the container terminals of Kaohsiung Port in May 1996 to attract international shipping companies to transship importing and exporting containers between Mainland China and third places to Kaohsiung Port. Then, in August 1996, Mainland China designated Xiamen and Fuzhou Ports of Fukien Province on the western shore of the Strait as ports for direct navigation to Kaohsiung Harbor's Offshore Shipping Center.

Plans for Taiwan's Offshore Shipping Center involved significant politicai and economic developments between Taiwan and Mainland China and Taiwan's future role within the international division of labor across the Asia-Pacific region. Taiwan's ability to expand beyond the limited policy and strategic planning approaches that focus only "within the scope of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait" and upgrade to the approaches of similar plans for an "Asian-Pacific regional transshipment center" adopted by Hong Kong and the government of Singapore will be a crucial challenge in Taiwan's global trading development (Lin, 1997).

Therefore, research on the implementation of plans for the Kaohsiung Harbor Offshore Shipping Center and their impact on the development of port operations on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will be helpful in assessing regional port development and follow-up policies. This paper examines the background of policy development, and then analyzes views from shipping companies through statistical information obtained from interviews and questionnaires. Finally, the paper provide our conclusions and recommendations.

Review of Literature

Taiwan's past "economic miracle" can be attributed in large part to the aggressive expansion of export markets by small and medium-size enterprises. But when international enterprises expand their portions of world markets due to globalization, small and medium-size businesses are unable to absorb the growing OEM production costs and therefore transfer labor-intensive production to countries or areas with similar cultural backgrounds, where communication is relatively easy and labor costs are lower (Kon, 1997b).

In the early 1980s, the Taiwan Government began to implement policies of "globalization" and "liberalization" for external economy, while Southeast Asian countries, especially those neighboring Singapore such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand, became primary choices of Taiwan enterprises for overseas investment. …

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