However, matters have not always gone smoothly for HCT in the past and, according to a local source who wishes to remain anonymous, it now looks as if the terminal “is at a turning point in its operational development” and will be shortly undergoing a drastic programme of major surgery and “course change”.
According to Container Management’s source, “The unjustifiably low container throughput will inevitably push the company’s finances deeply into the red by the end of March 2007. As a result, shareholder Kitakyushu City is now in the process of implementing major changes to the management, operation and business practices, which include the possibility of inviting local companies related to container transport to take a greater participatory role in the project, with a view to finalising a new terminal strategy by March 2007.”
In a separate move, the City intends to put its (loosely translated) ‘Kitakyushu Port All-Out Campaign’ on the agenda, with the intention of uniting the four separate groups of the Japan Harbour Transportation Association (JHTA) involved in HCT into a single entity. The fragmentation of the JHTA, which has led to “a division of views and mistrust among the parties”, has become a matter of increasingly serious concern to the city. As a result, major surgery for HCT “seems to be inevitable and imminent”.