:::
:::

History

Skip Label and go to Content

What is now the Port of Kaohsiung was first settled as a sleepy fishing hamlet at the height of the Ming Dynasty (in the 16th century). In 1624, the Dutch East India Company occupied the coastal plains in southern Taiwan and began to develop the harbor. Ming loyalist General Cheng Cheng-kung (a.k.a. Koxinga or Zheng Chenggong) led the remnants of the Ming military to Taiwan in 1661, wresting control from the Dutch.
 
In the decades that followed, trade was promoted, and great efforts went into developing Taiwan’s ports. In 1684, Kaohsiung harbor had been significantly improved and became the main distribution center for the Kaohsiung/Pingtung area. In 1858, a decision was taken to develop Kaohsiung harbor as an international commercial port. Under the Tianjin Treaty, which ended the Second Opium War, the Kaohsiung Customs Authority was formally established In 1863, run jointly by the imperial Qing government and Great Britain. China’s defeat to Japan in the First Sino-Japanese War led to the ceding of Taiwan and the Penghu Archipelago to Japan in 1895, after which Japan administered Taiwan as a colony. While enforcing strict political and economic strictures, Japan actively developed Taiwan’s agricultural potential to supply Japanese demand. Much emphasis was also placed on developing and building island infrastructures including railway, roads, and harbors (at Kaohsiung and Keelung).
 
Under the 19th century Treaty Port system (1863-1894), Kaohsiung harbor was opened to international trade, and various countries set up consulates and trading operations in and around the port area. This was a period of fast-growing trade volumes and prosperity for the harbor. On December 26th, 1863, Qing authorities established a branch customs office in Chihou, and appointed a British official to take charge of the taxation office. Kaohsiung had made the transformation from small fishing village to international harbor.
 
In 1869, the  British businessman - Elles, commissioned the customhouse official residence on Daku Hill in the Shaochuantou District. This helped make Kaohsiung even more international. In 1875, Deputy General Wang Fu-Lu built three barbettes and mounted four artillery pieces in Dapingting. An additional four artillery pieces were mounted in strategic positions by the sea to strengthen coastal defenses. Customhouse officials proposed expanding the harbor in the late 1870s. Although Taiwan Governor Ding Jih-Chang approved the request, his successor, Chang Mong-Yuan, cancelled plans due to a shortage of funds. In 1883, a British ship measured the harbor. In November of the same year, a lighthouse was built atop Chihou Hill. The limited capacity of the harbor encouraged British Consul P.L. Warren to request its expansion by Qing authorities. The request was turned down.
 
In May 1890, Taiwan Governor Liu Ming-chuan commissioned a Briton, H.C. Matheson, to survey Kaohsiung Harbor. The Governor planned to expand the scale of trading activities. In 1891, only one sailboat and eight ships called at Kaohsiung Harbor, according to a Tainan Customs report. In 1895, Taiwan was ceded to Japan under the Treaty of Shimonoseki, which ended the Sino-Japanese War. The Japanese Army occupied Kaohsiung Harbor on September 15th of the following year.  In 1899, Japan announced plans to further develop Kaohsiung Harbor due to its strategic location and good harbor conditions. In June 1890, engineers started collecting data for harbor expansion, with surveys conducted on local terrain, geology, water depths, tidal conditions, climate, and soil movement. The survey was completed within a year. At that time, the harbor covered 66,000 square meters, with a 3m water depth, width of 160 meters, and a current speed of four knots. In 1904, the Japanese began to install pilings for coastal warehouses and dredge outlying sandbars, ultimately reclaiming more than 132,000 square meters of land for the railway building at Takangpu. In April 1905, Japan colonial administrators established an agency in charge of expansion work and conducted a second detailed survey. The work was completed the next year.
 
In 1906, a construction plan was submitted to complete Kaohsiung Harbor expansion. The plan included three phases spanning a total of 38 years.
 
The first four-year construction phase commenced in 1908 and finished in 1912, providing wharves for seven 3,000 DWT ships and four buoys.
 
By 1912 it was clear that development plans were inadequate to meet actual commercial growth needs. Thus, plans were amended and a second phase began, which, when completed in 1937, opened the port to ships up to 8,000 tons, with drafts up to eight meters. Total waterline measured 1,878.6 meters, with depths maintained to 8.2 meters.
 
The harbor could service up to 26 ships (16 at berths, 10 buoyed) of between 3,000 and 10,000 tons. There were 19 one-story warehouse buildings and six two-story warehouses capable of handling 1.4 million tons of cargo (800,000 tons and 600,000 tons, respectively). Industries such as oil refining, aluminum, cement, alkali and shipbuilding were set up in nearby areas. In 1924, lines connecting Kaohsiung to Yokohama, Canton, Tianjin and northern Korea opened, and total external trade volume grew dramatically. The same year, cargo-handling capacity reached 1.58 million tons and total external trade exceeded 203 million Japanese yen. Arrivals and departures totaled 904 vessels, with a total vessel weight over 1.374 million tons. Major exports included bananas, timber, rice, salt, alcohol, cement, sugar, agavaceae, pineapple, cotton textiles and dried fish. Main imports included bean cakes, gunny, oil, iron, fertilizers, matches, woolen knitwear, machines, cans, tobacco and alcohol. In 1935, the Kaohsiung to Tianjin Line was divided into two separate lines: the Kaohsiung to Shanghai line, which started in Kaohsiung and stopped in Keelung, Fuzhou and Shanghai, and the Kaohsiung to Tianjin line, which stopped in Keelung and Dalian before arriving in Tianjin. A new island line was also opened between Kaohsiung and Magong, in the Penghu Archipelago (Pescadores). Kaohsiung to Yokohama, Osaka, Haikuo and the Penghus were designated tramp routes. In 1937, at the outbreak of the second Sino-Japanese War, Kaohsiung Harbor became considerably busier due to military needs. Cargo handling volumes surged to 2.5 million tons. The second stage of port development was completed that same year.
 
The third stage began due to demand again outstripping the capacity of harbor facilities. The Pacific War, however, shelved construction plans in 1941. Apart from maintenance, only one warehouse building was constructed under third stage plans. 1939 broke all historic records for port business. Volumes reached 3.2 million tons and value topped 486 million Japanese yen. Ship handling capacities totaled 3 million tons. In 1941, Kaohsiung harbor was a supply base for Japan’s military in Southeast Asia. Beginning from October 12, 1944, Allied forces regularly bombed harbor facilities until Japan’s surrender on August 15, 1945. In an effort to slow the allied advance, Japan destroyed warehouses and cargo handling cranes at the harbor and sank five ships weighing over 7,453 tons in the navigation channels. Kaohsiung harbor went silent and unused. .
In 1945, Taiwan was returned to China. The war had devastated Kaohsiung Harbor, leaving it littered with sunken ships and damaged facilities. In December 1945, the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau (KHB) was established to take charge of harbor restoration, which was largely completed in 1955. In 1958, the KHB began a twelve-year project to reclaim 544 hectares of shoreline to support increasing trade volumes.

 

To handle the surge in cargo throughput, the New Chung-tao Commercial Harbor Area was built over a period of over a decade (1963-1975). The project added 17 deep-water wharves and 3 shallow-water wharves capable of handling up to 17 20,000-ton-class ships simultaneously. The port was also expanded with the additions of the Kaohsiung Export Processing Zone, the Qianzhen Commercial Port Area, and the Linhai Industrial Zone with their large steelworks, massive shipyards, and the first, second, third, and fourth container terminals.

The first container terminal, located in the Zhongdao Commercial Harbor Area, was built between 1969 and 1970. It provides 4 deep-water wharves, a total waterline of 848m, and yard and storage space totaling 10.5 hectares, with a container storage capacity of 2,500 TEU.

To meet the development needs of foreign trade, improve operational capabilities, and respond to the order of President Chiang Kai-shek to diversify port functions, construction of the second harbor entrance started in 1967 and ended in 1975. This new entrance opened access to the port’s inner harbor to cargo vessels up to the 100,000-ton class.

From 1970 to 1975, construction of the second container terminal in the Qianzhen Commercial Port Area was completed with the addition of 4 new deep-water wharves, a total waterline length of 1,204m, and 45ha of new yard and warehouse space, with a total capacity of over 12,000TEU.

From 1976 to 1981, construction of the third container terminal was completed with the addition of 3 new deep-water wharves, a total waterline length of 1,072m, and 48ha of new yard and warehouse space, with a total capacity of over 18,000TEU.

The isolated island of Qijin, located off the Kaohsiung coast, was connected to the port via the 4-lane Cross Harbor Tunnel, with construction beginning in May 1981 and ending in May 1984. The 1,550m-long tunnel connects  Qijin to the Zhongxing (South Star) Commercial Port Area, with 440m available for bidirectional traffic transiting at a maximum depth of 14m below the intervening channel. The Cross Harbor Tunnel streamlined cargo traffic to and from Qijin and greatly enhanced the Port of Kaohsiung’s development as a modern international commercial port.

From 1983 to 1993, construction of the fourth container terminal in the Zhongxing Commercial Port Area completed 8 new deep-water wharves, a total waterline length of 276 meters, and 100ha of new yard and warehouse space, with a total capacity of over 35,000TEU.

Due to the gradual increase in container handling operations at the port, work commenced in 1988 to build the Dazhen Commercial Port Area. This area, located in the fifth container terminal, has 8 deep-water wharves, of which 3 are maintained to 15 meters in depth, 4 are maintained to 14 meters in depth, 3 are maintained to 13 meters in depth, and 1 is maintained as a dedicated wharf for oversized and heavy cargo. Furthermore, the area offers 90ha of yard and warehouse space, with a total capacity of over 49,000TEU. Completed in February 2001, the Dazhen Commercial Port Area provides rapid, accurate full port services using the most advanced hardware and software in order to provide internationally competitive shipping services.

The port's former log storage pond was repurposed as a general-purpose canal. Construction began in 1996 and was completed in June 1999.

ISO-9002 quality system certification in 1998 further promotes and ensures Port of Kaohsiung service quality and internationalization.

The Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) and Vessel Traffic Center (VTC) were completed in 2001, providing more convenient, faster, and secure marine services for the port’s shipping company clients.

The 5S campaign was launched to improve the quality of the Port of Kaohsiung environment, reduce pollution, and enhance greenification. The 5S campaign earned the national MOTC Environmental Model Award in February 2002. Further, the port earned ISO14001 quality certification in September of the same year, enhancing the international image of the Port of Kaohsiung.

The International Ship and Port Facilities Security (ISPS) CODE was formally enacted at the Port of Kaohsiung on July 1st, 2004. ISPS rules and requirements for carriers and terminals improve vessel and port security against international terrorist attacks.

Responding to the government's "Challenge 2008: National Development Plan's focus on operational headquarters plan" initiative, the Port of Kaohsiung opened a Free Trade Zone on January 1st, 2005, enhancing the port's operating environment and competitiveness and contributing significantly to the development of Taiwan’s international logistics capabilities.

To give maximum support, guidance, supervision, and assistance in all aspects, work to relocate the residents and facilities of Hong Mao Harbor came to a successful conclusion in November 2007. The Yang Ming Shipping Group’s Kao-Ming Container Piers Co. and the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau (now the Port of Kaohsiung subsidiary of the Taiwan International Ports Corporation) signed a contract to build the sixth container terminal, which is planned to encompass 74.8 hectares of reclaimed land, including four new deep-water (-16m) container wharves (Nos. 408 - 411), 1,500m in new quay length, and 475m in depth behind the wharves that will be used for new container stacking yards, office space, equipment maintenance areas, terminal operations center, control station and entrance facilities, refueling stations, parking lots, and fencing. Construction on this terminal began in December 2007. Wharves Nos. 108 and 109 were completed in 2010 and officially opened for business on January 5th, 2011.

On March 1st, 2012, the former Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau was reorganized as the Port of Kaohsiung, subsidiary of the Taiwan International Ports Corporation,- (TIPC). The Port of Kaohsiung began to operate as part of a national port network, with each port in the network focusing on developing its strengths and coordinating operations to deliver maximum benefit to TIPC, the nation, and port clients. Following the reorganization, the Port of Kaohsiung aggressively developed Free Trade Zone operations, that targeted "Double V" (trade value + trade volume) and tied the port into southern Taiwan’s strong manufacturing base, including Chung-Tao, the Nanzih Export Processing Zones, and science parks in Tainan and Kaohsiung. Furthermore, an integrated sales and manufacturing model for FTZ companies was promoted in the port’s Free Economic Pilot Zone as a way to help southern Taiwan re-industrialization and revitalization and support the nation's economic development vision, in order to achieve the national vision of trade and economic  prosperity.

In response to the needs of future development, the sixth container terminal has successfully completed Phases I and II of the Kaohsiung Intercontinental Container Terminal (KITC), encouraged private participation in investment and development, promoted the growth of Kaohsiung Port Free Trade Zone business operations, and, on June 17th, 2013, became Asia’s ninth LME non-ferrous metals delivery port, with operations commencing on November 21st of that year.

Construction on Phase II of the Port of Kaohsiung ICT, including Wharves Nos. 110 and 111, container yard CY-3, and other facilities was completed in August 2014 and commenced commercial operations on September 21st. This completed the first stage of work on the Kaohsiung Intercontinental Container Terminal (KITC), with four deep-water wharves (-16m) providing access for modern container ships up to the 13,000TEU class. The four wharves are expected to increase port handling capacity by 117 million TEU annually, pushing Port of Kaohsiung container handling capacity above 300 million TEUs. This achievement is a fundamental benchmark that lends strong support to the Port of Kaohsiung’s emergence as a key container transshipment hub for the Asia-Pacific region.

Responding to the steady rise in demand for cruise industry handling facilities and passenger amenities, the Port of Kaohsiung completed construction of a new international visitors center at Warehouse 9-2 and installed a new currency exchange counter and other passenger service facilities. This new center can accommodate up to 30 passengers simultaneously at check-in, with a processing throughput of approximately 1,500 persons per hour. These new facilities and related services are a key step forward in Kaohsiung’s transformation as a major port of call and homeport for the regional cruise travel industry.

Work on the Port of Kaohsiung Container Terminal Reconstruction Plan for Wharves 115, 116, and 117 finished on October 13th, 2014. This project deepened the draught depth along a total waterline length of 916.8m from -14m to -16.5m, providing access to 13,500-TEU container ships. This project makes significantly more effective use of the port’s limited land space and port stevedoring resources, allowing the Port of Kaohsiung to further increase service quality to its shipping and other clients, to further enhance the port’s profile and competitiveness in global shipping, and to further enhance overall operational performance.

To realize core sustainability development goals, the Port of Kaohsiung is incorporating environmentally friendly concepts into its operations and new development plans. Port of Kaohsiung administrators are working aggressively to meet the needs of business while reducing environmental pollution / emissions, improving biological diversity in and around the port, and meeting the needs of the surrounding community. The Port of Kaohsiung has promoted the Eco-Port Action Plan since 2010 and in 2013 commenced the first round of certification procedures as an Eco-Port. The port passed the second stage site inspection process and was certified as an Eco-Port on October 10th, 2014. Kaohsiung was the first commercial port in Asia to receive Eco-Port certification and to be officially registered on the European Eco-Port Network Map. Eco-Port certification promises to help increase the business competitiveness of port operations, strengthen the port’s social image, and enhance international visibility and recognition. Looking into the future, the Port of Kaohsiung will continue to improve the environmental friendliness of its infrastructure and operations as well as to sustain and expand its list of international eco-related certifications in order to become the best port possible for its shareholders, its clients, its neighbors, and society at large.

The Kaohsiung Port Sewerage Plan was completed on schedule on December 31st, 2014. Under this plan, a total of 93 new sewage lines were installed to improve the Port of Kaohsiung environment and water quality, improving significantly the overall environment at the port while enhancing the port’s international image and lending critical support to tourism development objectives.

The government is actively promoting the Port of Kaohsiung's emergence as a key transshipment center for Asia-Pacific container shipping and for global logistics. Major recent government infrastructure works that are streamlining port operations include: a new viaduct expressway project, development of the new Passenger Terminal, the Nanxing (South Star)  Land Development Project, and the construction of a new Kaohsiung Port area sewage treatment system. The Port of Kaohsiung works with professionalism, innovation, execution, an international perspective on the core functions of the enterprise, and a commitment to the "high-quality, high-efficiency, and reasonable-rates" ideal. The port is retooling and upgrading its facilities related to logistics and transportation to support new free port operations and to create a safe, economical, and high-efficiency / high-quality environment for its clients, with the ultimate goal of becoming a key transshipment center for the region and a logistics management center for the world.

Future development vision:
The 2040 Master Plan for the Port of Kaohsiung, TIPC outlines the development vision for the port through the coming three decades. In terms of port developments in relation to Kaohsiung City, the port's growth southward promises to stimulate industrial development in the Greater Kaohsiung Area and open a "third port” to serve the import / export needs of southern Taiwan. In terms of general port development, balancing productivity with the needs of society and the surrounding ecosystem will define the Port of Kaohsiung's push forward to become a hub port for global shipping, a LOHAS port for Kaohsiung City and visitors, and an eco-port for sustainability and long-term health. Efforts will continue to further expand and improve the Port of Kaohsiung in line with shipping and urban development needs, to introduce new information technology, automation, and green transportation innovations, and to deliver personalized, friendly, and customer-oriented services in order to provide clients with world-class service in a state-of-the-art, streamlined and easy-to-manage environment. Ultimately, the Port of Kaohsiung is committed to making its operations a win-win proposition for all of its stakeholders.

Last updated:2016-11-24
  • Go back
  • Go top
[Print]