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Ocean transportation express zone to boost economy: Jiang

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The "ocean transportation express zone," the construction of which was completed in June, will go a long way in helping Taiwan's economic development, said Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) yesterday.

The project was heralded by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) in an effort to introduce customs-related services and to help Taiwan better cope with a changing economic environment, said the government.

According to Jiang, the express zone will render a highly convenient, low-cost and safer customs clearance service in the future. It will also smooth out freight transportation as well as increase local employment and assist in economic development.

According to the MOF, the express zone will offer 24-hour customs clearance, providing a mechanism that allows for simple form filling, and it will lower freight shipping time and cost. This will allow for Taiwanese goods to be shipped into mainland China more rapidly. In addition, the zone will attract more Chinese goods to dock in Taiwan before traveling to other parts of the world.

This will not only aid Taiwan's air and sea transportation development, but it will also provide an easier customs clearance in the Free Economic Pilot Zones, a flagship government project to open up the economy.

The MOF set up a cross-division special task force in April 2013 to orchestrate the express zone, which aims to resolve issues relating to cross-strait shipping as well as assist local firms in taking advantage of more business opportunities. Related regulations, information systems setup and human resource allocations were completed at the end of June this year.

Finance Minister Chang Sheng-ford (張盛和) said that services related to Internet marketing, mailed packages and express mail offered in the express zone will aid in the launch of intelligent logistics in the Free Economic Pilot Zones.

The government is also helping local businesses in setting up relevant services. Several freighters, including Tonglit Logistics Co., Taiwan International Ports Corporation and Taipei Port Container Terminal Corp., have expressed their interest in the express zone. They are expected to start using its services between February and June of next year.

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