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Evergreen founder denies Kaohsiung withdrawal

Evergreen founder denies Kaohsiung withdrawal

Taipei: Evergreen Group founder Chang Yung-fa (pivtured) has denied reports by the local media that his group's container shipping unit would pull out of Kaohsiung Port in southern Taiwan to save money at a time when cargo volumes are plummeting, writes CAN.

"How could it be possible that Evergreen withdraws its operations from the fifth container wharf of Kaohsiung Port, given that Kaohsiung is an irreplaceable operating base in southern Taiwan?" Chang said in Singapore, where he arrived Monday for a five-day visit.

A Taiwan TV station reported recently that Evergreen might halt operations at Kaohsiung Port and instead launch services at a container wharf at Taipei Port in northern Taipei County jointly run by Evergreen, Wan Hai Lines Ltd. and Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp.

Pulling out of Kaohsiung would help Evergreen save as much as NT$3bn (USD $89m) a year in rental fees, the report claimed.

Chang also announced the opening of Evergreen Marine (Singapore) Pte Ltd. and revealed his plan to have 13 ships presently flying the Panamanian flag to move to Singapore and raise the Singaporean flag. One vessel already began flying Singapore's flag earlier this month. In the future, Evergreen's Singapore-based fleet would be increased to some 50 vessels, he added.

Evergreen originally pulled out of Singapore in 2002 because of what it saw as excessively high port fees and moved its fleet to nearby Malaysia.

However the company decided to head back to the city state last December, to take advantage of Singapore's Approved International Shipping Enterprise scheme. Under the program, international shippers that establish their operations in Singapore get 10-year tax holidays on qualifying shipping income.  [31/03/09]

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