The Hualien Harbor, which is found on the east coast of Taiwan, is bounded by the Central Mountain Range to the west and the Pacific Ocean to its east. It is a man-made location enclosed by protective breakwaters. Since September 1, 1963, the harbor has been a port of call for international shipping and continues to be administered by the Hualien Harbor Bureau.
The Hualien port was but a mere artificial harbor during the 1930s. It was then expanded several times to further encourage the local economy and industrial development of the east region of Taiwan. It was only in 1963 that the Hualien port was officially established as one of the four international ports in Taiwan. Not long after, the harbor opened its port to international commerce.
The harbor of Hualien operates about 25 wharves with a total annual handling capacity of about 34 million tons. The port is also home to 6 warehouses that are further divided into 38 container yards, 15 storage units, 4 port authority gunboats, one transport ship and one container collection depot. The Hualien port is known to be well-equipped with a wide range of facilities to accommodate the cargo needs and commercial development of not only Hualien but of Taiwan’s eastern seaboard. The harbor specially handles bulk material, some of which include sand, concrete, gravel, iron ore, coals and wood chips.
Since 2004, the Hualien Harbor has been operating on a 24-hour basis to help ease the shortages of sand and gravel in the region. Operating in such an effective way has also increased the attractiveness level of Hualien to many shipping and cargo companies. In 2005, the port of Hualien broke records when it handled over 21 million tons of cargo, proving that the port is on its way to becoming an important international commercial port in Asia.
In addition, the government of Taiwan has made efforts to support the transport of sand and gravel from the east coast to other areas in the island, particularly those on the north and western sections. The government is said to have plans to develop facilities and services essential for commercial growth near the port of Hualien. The Taiwanese government has further plans to develop the port itself into an area for ocean tourism and recreational activities. These plans are then set to foster new opportunities for Hualien in terms of business and tourism.
It seems that Hualien is not only blessed with imposing mountains and cliffs, popular tourist attractions and some of the most stunning coastal sceneries of the island, but is also blessed with an effective and productive port that seems to fuel the nation’s economy. Today, the harbor of Hualien is located in one of the most beautiful natural landscapes in the country and is found near one of the most beautiful national parks of the island, the Taroko National Park. The Hualien harbor is indeed ready to serve its county when it comes to not only shipping but in tourism and recreational sectors as well.