The port authority for the Port of Kaohsiung is the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, an external division of Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The Ministry is in charge of all regulations and policy regarding transportation and communications within the Free Area of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
While waterborne shipping carriers are privately operated, the Port of Kaohsiung is governed and operated by the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau. The Port of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau was created in 1945 with the primary purpose of restoring the harbor that had been ravaged during World War II. Many ships had sunk in the harbor, and harbor facilities were severely damaged. The harbor restoration was completed in 1955 and, in 1958, the Port of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau started a 12-year effort to increase trade volume by reclaiming 544 hectares of shoreline in the Port of Kaohsiung.
Today, Taiwan's government lauds the Port of Kaohsiung its global center for commercial logistics and a center for transshipments throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau is tasked with maintaining the Port of Kaohsiung's competitive position through innovation and high-quality and cost-effective streamlined services.
Given its importance to Taiwan, the Port of Kaohsiung lends several nicknames to the City of Kaohsiung including the Harbor City, the Maritime Capital, and the Waterfront City. The Port of Kaohsiung is Taiwan's biggest international port. The Port of Kaohsiung offers a mild climate and calm waters to its customers. Located on the island's southwest coast, the Port of Kaohsiung sits where the Taiwan Strait meets the Bashi Channel.
In 2010, over 17.6 thousand vessels carried almost 125 million metric tons of cargo through the Port of Kaohsiung, including over 9 million TEUs of containerized cargo. Of the total cargo, 88 million metric tons (or 70%) were imports and 37 million metric tons (or 30%) were exports. The vast majority of cargo in the Port of Kaohsiung was foreign (118.2 million metric tons or 95%). More than 144 thousand passengers arrived at (67.5 thousand) or departed from (76.7 thousand) the Port of Kaohsiung in 2010.
The Port of Kaohsiung handled 37.1 million tons of containerized cargo in 2010, evenly divided in volume between imports and exports. The main containerized cargo imported in the Port of Kaohsiung consisted of base metals and metal products, while the main exported containerized cargo was plastics, rubber, and related products.
Other important containerized imports arriving at the Port of Kaohsiung included vegetable products; chemical products; pulp, paper, and printed matter; mineral products; prepared foods, beverages (including alcohol), and tobacco; and wood, bamboo, and rattan products. The other important containerized exports leaving the Port of Kaohsiung in 2010 included base metals and metal products; chemical products; machinery and electric power equipment; and textiles.
The Port of Kaohsiung is home to 121 wharves with a total length of 27.8 thousand meters (91.2 thousand feet). There are 66 warehouses and sheds in the Port of Kaohsiung with total capacity for 957.7 thousand tons of cargo. Seven open storage yards have a total capacity of 35,322 tones or 118.3 thousand TEUs.
In the Port of Kaohsiung, 27 berths totaling 5373 meters handle general merchandise and include over 117 thousand square meters of warehouse space and over 15 thousand square meters of outdoor yard. Of the 27 berths, 24 have alongside depth of 10.5 meters. One berth is 13 meters deep, one is 14 meters deep, and one is 6.5 meters deep. The Port of Kaohsiung's general merchandise berths range from 151 to 375 meters in length, with an average length of 222 meters. Three berths are 151 meters long, nine berths are from 196 to 205 meters long, two berths are 214 and 215 meters long, one berth is 298 meters long, and three berths are over 300 meters long.
The Port of Kaohsiung contains 25 special use berths that are a total of 5.4 thousand meters long and have almost 32 thousand square meters of warehouse space and almost 400 thousand square meters of open storage yards. Some of these special use wharves in the Port of Kaohsiung handle oil tankers and coal carriers as well as port vessels. With alongside depths from five to 16 meters, depths average 10.5 meters, and berths range from 118 to 384 meters long, averaging 215 meters in length.
Three of the Port of Kaohsiung's 25 special use berths are 118 meters long with alongside depth of 7 meters. Two berths are 139 meters long with alongside depth of 9 meters. Five berths are between 150 and 200 meters long with alongside depths ranging from 4.5 to 11.8 meters. Seven special use berths in the Port of Kaohsiung are between 200 and 250 meters long, most with alongside depth of 10.5 or 11.5 meters. Five berths are between 250 and 300 meters, and alongside depths range from 6.5 to 16.5 meters (only one berth with less than 10.5 meters depth).
Twenty-three berths in the Port of Kaohsiung with a total length of 6897 meters serve containerized cargo. The Port of Kaohsiung's container wharves also have more than 710 thousand square meters of yards. Port of Kaohsiung container berth lengths range from 120 to 440 meters, and alongside depths range from 10.5 to 15 meters.
Twelve of the Port of Kaohsiung container berths are 320 meters long with alongside depth of 14 meters. Two berths are less than 200 meters with alongside depths of 14 and 10.5 meters. Five container berths are from 230 to 277 meters long with alongside depths of 10.5, 12, and 14.5 meters. One container berth is 340 meters long with alongside depth of 14 meters, and two are 355 meters long with alongside depth of 15 meters. The Port of Kaohsiung's largest container berth is 440 meters long with alongside depth of 14.5 meters.
The Port of Kaohsiung has 11 dry bulk berths with a total length of 2350 meters, all of which have alongside depth of 10.5 meters, and more than 3.4 thousand square meters of warehouse space. Two of the Port of Kaohsiung's dry bulk wharves (at 184 and 306 meters long) handle dangerous cargo and bulk. Eight of the 11 wharves are 200 meters long, and one is 260 meters long.
The Port of Kaohsiung has two cement berths with silos. Each of them is 200 meters long with alongside depth of 10.5 meters. The Port of Kaohsiung also has two grain berths, each of which is 200 meters long with alongside depth of 14 meters. Four "other use" berths total 517 meters in length and have depths from 5 to 10.5 meters. Kaohsiung City has seven dedicated wharves with a total length of over one thousand meters and 12.9 thousand square meters of warehouse space.
Two passenger berths in the Port of Kaohsiung are a total of 629 meters long, and they have 2.1 thousand square meters of warehouse space. The Passenger Berths are 250 and 378 meters long with alongside depths of 9 and 4.5 meters, respectively.
The Port of Kaohsiung's Punhu (or Penghu) Harbor contains two port districts: Magong and Longmen-Jianshan. The Magong Port District is located at the southeast of Penghu Island, and it is a natural U-shaped harbor offering shelter from the Taiwan Strait's open waters. The Longmen-Jiansham Port Longmen-Jianshan Port District is on the southwestern coast of Penghu Island. The Port of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau manages the ports within Punhu Harbor.
There are a total of 956 meters (3136 feet) in nine wharves in the Port of Kaohsiung's Magong Port District with alongside depths from 2.5 to 8 meters (8.2 to 26.2 feet). There are two open storage yards covering a total of ten thousand square meters (2.5 acres). The Magong Port wharves serve passenger, cargo, and military vessels. The Port of Kaohsiung's Longmen-Jianshan Port District has eight wharves a total of just over one thousand meters (3291 feet) long that serve general cargo vessels of up to two thousand DWT.
The Port of Kaohsiung's Anping Port is the most important affiliate harbor. The Port of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau is currently developing Anping Port as a multi-functional harbor with ample passenger services and supporting increasing commercial connections throughout the Asia region.
Anping Port was the biggest commercial port on Taiwan before the 20th Century. It lost that status as silting blocked vessels from the harbor. Due to its location near the City of Tainan and industries, the Port of Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau has invested great efforts and resources to re-establish Anping Port.
In 2006, the Port of Kaohsiung's Anping Port handled ten million tons of cargo, setting a 30-year record. The port offers very competitive rages and efficient stevedoring and tugboat services.
Budai Port is the third affiliate port for the Port of Kaohsiung. It is located on the Taiwan Strait about 59 nautical miles (89 kilometers or 59 miles by air) north of the Port of Kaohsiung and about 36 nautical miles (almost 65 kilometers or 39 miles by air) from the Magong Port in Punhu Harbor on Penghu Island.
The Port of Kaohsiung's Budai Port can accommodate vessels of less than five thousand tons with water depths of 7.5 meters (24.6 feet). Budai Port has five wharves, three for general cargo and two for bulk cargo. It also has two cement silos, each with capacity for 700 tons.
Five container terminals are located within the 397-hectare Foreign Trade Zone that started operating in the Port of Kaohsiung in 2005.
These Port of Kaohsiung container terminals have total capacity for handling ten million TEUs of containerized cargo. The terminals have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment as well as modern infrastructure and highly-qualified staff. The container terminals and Port of Kaohsiung's the Free Trade Zone are located three kilometers (1.9 miles) west of the Siaogang International Airport and just two kilometers (1.2 miles) from the freeway.
Industrial clusters surround the Port of Kaohsiung and the Free Trade Zone. These include the steel industry (China Steel at its center), the petrochemical industry (Chinese Petroleum at its center), and the shipbuilding industry (China Shipbuilding at its center). There are also seven processing zones in the Port of Kaohsiung for exports.
The Port of Kaohsiung uses an image recognition system (IRS) to improve container processing arriving at and leaving the port by truck. In the future, the IRS will be incorporated into the container database operated by the Bureau of Customs to improve processing of containers, reduce operating and shipping costs, and eliminate the need for Customs officials to escort containers to Port of Kaohsiung exit stations.