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Yang Ming cruises into tourism sector

Yang Ming cruises into tourism sector

Keelung: In a major move to diversify its earnings base and in line with the government's aim to make Keelung a tourist destination, Yang Ming Marine Corp is moving into the cruise sector. The container and panamax bulk operator, which is headquartered in Keelung, 45 minutes from Taipei, aims to launch its first cruise ship in 2012.

'Yangming Marine has invested in container shipping, port facilities and land transport. Our mid- and long-term goals are tourism,' the Central News Agency quoted Chu Tong-ping, executive director of the Yangming Marine Culture Foundation, as saying.

'One of our dreams is to invest in the cruise business because very few foreign cruise liners dock at Taiwan ports. So Yangming Marine plans to branch into the cruise business and have Taiwan's own cruise ships built, so that foreign tourists can visit Taiwan on Taiwan-owned luxury cruise ships,' he told CNA.

Sea tours for the company's "Formosa Blue Highway" luxury cruise package are expected to start at the time of the Yang Ming cruise ship's completion.

The government of Taiwan is currently building a port at the mouth of the Tamsui River, upriver from Taipei. The long-term plan is to shift the container traffic to that port, and use the more picturesque port of Keelung for tourism. From an intermodal point of view shifting Keelung away from boxes makes sense as the highway reaching the city is too cramped.

In the past few years, Yang Ming has made a great effort to make the public aware of oceanic life and culture, said Huang Wan-hsiu, the company's chairman.

In 2003, Yang Ming started construction of the Oceanic Culture & Art Museum which opened to the public on December 28, 2004. The museum has since displayed numerous international oceanic culture exhibits, and enhanced Taiwan's image on the global arena in this area, according to the company.

Yang Ming currently owns 82 boxships and 10 bulkers. [23/02/07]