Cargo ferry service between Keelung (Taiwan) and Ishigaki, Miyako starts again after a gap of three years

Cargo ferry service between Keelung (Taiwan) and Ishigaki, Miyako starts again after a gap of three years

The president of SinFa Transport Co., Ltd., Hsu Chih-hsiung (right) and Taiwanese legislator Lie Kuen-Cheng visited Ishigaki City Hall on June 24.

June 25, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

Later this year, a cargo ferry run by SinFa Transport Co., Ltd. (president Hsu Chih-hsiung and based in Taichung) will commence a regular service between Keelung in Taiwan and Ishigaki, Miyako in Okinawa. The president of the shipping company and Lie Kuen-Cheng, a member of the Taiwanese Legislative Council, visited the Ishigaki-jima to explain their plans to representatives of Taketomi, Ishigaki, and the Yaeyama Office of Okinawa Prefectural Government. After a gap of three years, a cargo ferry service going directly between Miyako, Yaeyama and Taiwan will recommence after the previous service was discontinued when the Arimura Sangyo Line went bankrupt in 2008.

The cargo vessel to service the route is registered in Panama and has a load-carrying capacity of 1500 tons.

The Taiwanese ferry company purchased a used vessel, which it is now refitting and will commence the once-a-week service in September at the earliest. Currently, the transportation of goods by sea between Taiwan and the Miyako, Yaeyama regions is via the main island of Okinawa, so this service will save both time and money by operating a direct route between Keelung and Ishigaki, Miyako.

Mayor of Ishigaki City, Yoshitaka Nakayama, welcomes the reopening of this route, saying, “There has been a decrease in the volume of imports from Taiwan since the Arimura Line discontinued the regular service. We need to promote economic exchange so as to achieve our goal of mutually prosperous interaction. For our part, we will also push along all kinds of exchange between Taiwan and the Yaeyama region.”

Legislator Lie said, “We have similarities in terms of our natural environment and in the economic situation of the eastern areas of Taiwan and Yaeyama. It would be good to be able to establish a closer relationship. I will work within the National Assembly of Taiwan to get daily flights going between our regions and will request government subsidies to help facilitate this,” he said.

The president of the shipping company stated, “Enhanced access to transportation will deepen the exchanges between us. The next step is to create a passenger ferry service.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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