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Solar energy firms opt for Kaohsiung port FTZ

Ten solar energy supply chain operators are planning to relocate their operations to the Kaohsiung Port Free Trade Zone (FTZ) later this year, the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau said last week.

The announcement was the culmination of a program initiated 20 years ago, when Kaohsiung City Government launched the “South Star” land reclamation project, creating at that time a plot of land that was slightly more than 211 hectares in size.

Land purchases

Chen Rong-shin, a division chief at the bureau, said the bureau purchased 98.32 hectares from Greater Kaohsiung City Government at a cost of about NT$1.5 billion (US$52.33 million).

The purchased lot, together with 7.93 hectares of land owned by the bureau, is now set to become the port’s FTZ, Chen said.

The bureau has budgeted NT$2.5 billion to build the necessary public infrastructure in the FTZ between next year and 2015, he said.

Further discussion

During a briefing on the project at the weekly ministerial-level meeting at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications last week, Chen said the plan would be submitted to the Council of Economic Planning and Development for further discussion this week.

The plan will also be submitted later this month to the Environmental Impact Assessment Committee under the Environmental Protection Administration for an environmental impact assessment.

Based on the bureau’s plan, about 63 hectares of the land -purchased from the Greater Kao-hsiung Government would be dedicated to plants working in the area of green energy and the high-tech sector.

Moving in

Chen said that 10 companies from the solar energy industry had already secured property totaling 26.97 hectares in the FTZ, adding that they were scheduled to officially move into the zone in October and begin production in 2014.

The nation’s largest seaport, the Kaohsiung Port was the world’s 12th largest container port last year, with the ports of Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong taking the top three places.

Last week, the ministry extended an invitation to re-exporters from around the world to invest in the free trade zones of four seaports and Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport.

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