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Labor shortage delays Taiwan’s MRT projects to 2027

Reporter Amy Hsin-Hsiang Chen
Release time:2024/06/12 17:52
Last update time:2024/06/12 17:52
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TAIPEI (TVBS News) — The shortage of labor and materials has severely affected public construction projects in Taiwan. The first phase of the MRT Wanda Line, originally scheduled for completion in 2025, has been delayed until 2027. The second phase remains in the invitation-to-tender stage.

The lengthy construction periods for MRT projects are vulnerable to current social and economic trends. Construction companies cannot guarantee on-time completion, leading to a low willingness to bid. Other projects facing similar challenges include the Circular Line East Section, New Taipei Metro Xizhi-Donghu Line, and Taoyuan Metro Green Line.

 

Civil engineers' willingness to work in the public sector is also decreasing. According to the Railway Bureau, more than 10% of job vacancies remain unfilled. The booming technology industry also attracts many workers, exacerbating the labor shortage.

An aging population further contributes to the labor shortage. Young people are less willing to engage in physical labor, reducing the number of available workers. Consequently, projects require more time to complete, generally resulting in six months to a year delays.

Introducing foreign migrant workers could be a solution; however, Taiwan's policy is seen as too conservative. "All countries are scrambling for workers, and now, laborers from Thailand and the Philippines are not quite coming to Taiwan," said Pinchia Construction CEO Hu Wei-liang. 
 

"If we don't open up enough to this foreign labor force, in the future, even in Indonesia and Vietnam, such laborers will go to other countries, and Taiwan will have a complete shortage of workers. Then, it may be even more out of reach to change the aging social environment in Taiwan."

Regarding using machines to replace human labor, Hu explained that while machines can perform standardized tasks like floor slab reinforcement, many tasks remain beyond their capabilities.

Taiwan must properly address the issue of labor shortages, as delays in public construction projects are detrimental to national competitiveness.
 

Taiwan Business

#Taiwan construction#labor shortage#MRT Wanda Line#public sector engineering#infrastructure projects#construction delays#foreign labor#Taiwan construction project setbacks#solutions for Taiwan labor shortage#impact of labor shortage on Taiwan infrastructur
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