The Taiwan International Ports Corporation (TIPC) said that it expects 900,000 passengers to visit the Port of Keelung in 2017, 34 percent up on 2016.
The TIPC said, in a prepared statement, that the rise was due to more large ships visiting regularly, and offering domestic travelers a wide range of vacation options.
Bruce Krumrine, vice president, shore excursions of Holland America Group, was recently in Taiwan for in-depth talks, according to the TIPC.
“The in-depth discussions during the visit centered on ongoing cruise-related infrastructure improvements at Keelung and Mr. Krumrine’s practical suggestions,” the statement read.
“Mr. Krumrine noted that the Port of Keelung possessed the rare advantage of being able to receive large cruise ships in the heart of the city. He further noted that Taiwan already holds an important place in the Asia cruise travel market. The Port of Keelung, he suggested, while retaining its advantageous inner harbor cruise-ship births, should add new cruise ship wharves along the outer harbor in order to ensure adequate parking for tour buses and space for baggage handling facilities.”
Current plans call for the potential of up to three cruise ship homeport wharves which will add significant capacity to Keelung, which is coming off a record day on June 30 when it hosted the Majestic Princess, SuperStar Virgo and SuperStar Aquarius, as well as two smaller local vessels.
There are improvements underway in Kaohsiung as well, as new boarding bridges were recently introduced to better serve large vessels. The new bridge system was first put to the test with a call from the SuperStar Virgo. The new passenger bridges are 10 meters high and 31 meters long, and can be extended to meet the tip. They weigh 45 tons and span three levels.
In addition, the Port of Kaohsiung has recently opened an air-conditioned, enclosed corridor linking the cruise-ship wharf to the International Travel Center. The corridor, which keeps cruise passengers in comfort and safe from the elements, is lined with photographs of Kaohsiung City sites and photographs of the port.
Port administrators noted that when the new Port of Kaohsiung Port and Cruise Service Center is completed, it will be connected by a pair of suspension bridges that lead directly to the ship.