The new port near Bali northwest of Taipei.

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 picturesque port of Keelung for tourism. Yesterday Yangming, a major Taiwan shipper and shipbuilder, announced that it would be constructing a luxury cruise ship to tap local and foreign tourist markets.

A local shipping company will build Taiwan’s first luxury cruise ship by the year 2012, officials with the company said yesterday.

Yangming Marine Transport Corp. (Yangming), a Keelung-based shipping company with over 90 years of history, said this endeavor is part of their effort to promote oceanic culture and marine ecology in the country.

Sea tours for the company’s “Formosa Blue Highway” luxury cruise package are expected to start at the time of the Yangming cruise ship’s completion.

In the past few years, Yangming 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, Yangming started construction of the Oceanic Culture & Art Museum which opened to the public on Dec. 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.

Keelung and its port, looking northeast from the ridge overlooking the city.

Slowly Keelung’s tourism potential is being developed. If you haven’t visited Keelung, it makes a wonderful day trip out of Taipei (buses leave from many places along Chunghsiao E. Rd.; commuter train takes about 45 minutes).

Related links:
Yangming Oceanic Museum