A government-appointed committee is looking into the feasibility of moving Hong Kong’s Kwai Tsing container terminal or of building homes on an elevated platform above it.
The Task Force on Land Supply will ask Hong Kong residents for views on these two ideas, along with 13 other land supply solutions, in a public consultation in March 2018.
Hong Kong’s container port was the biggest in the world not long ago. Now, however, it has slipped down the rankings as it has lost traffic to Pearl River Delta rivals Shenzen and Guangzhou.
The city, which once based its economy around its port, is now a thriving, densely-populated financial hub where land is scarce.
According to the South China Morning Post, the Task Force said they were open-minded about both ideas but that there was not sufficient information to determine whether or not either option would be feasible.
“We’re not saying it’s feasible, or not feasible at this moment. But we recognise either option does have certain technical challenges that need to be addressed,” task force chairman Stanley Wong Yuen-fai said.
“Our container terminals are running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If we are to relocate the terminal, or build on top of it, how are we going to ensure that the normal operations won’t be disrupted?” Wong said.
Wong continued to say that finding a suitable site to relocate the container terminal to would be challenging, as would ensuring sufficient hinterland transport infrastructure.
“Imagine what the visual impact would be, if housing was built on a 60 to 80-metre podium? Would there be a wall effect? We cannot address these issues today,” Wong said.
Liberal Party lawmaker Frankie Yick Chi-ming, who represents the transport sector, agreed that building residential flats atop container terminal could cause a lot of technical and environmental problems.
“If the government really wants to build flats on the container terminal site, it would be much easier and better for the government to relocate the entire container terminal so as to vacate the land for housing,” Yick told the South China Morning Post.