The Hong Kong Container Terminal Operator’s Association (HKCTOA) has called for the government’s support to provide additional back-up land and barge berths at the Kwai Tsing container terminal, to safeguard the port’s competitiveness.
Jessie Chung, chairman of the HKCTOA, said: “Hong Kong’s container terminal industry is on the verge of a watershed moment. To maintain Hong Kong’s competitiveness, the terminal operators at Kwai Tsing Port have been making substantial investments in capability and productivity enhancements. We urgently need the Hong Kong government’s support in the area of land policy.”
Key industry trends over the last few years have prompted this call for support, including the growing size of mega container vessels and the increasing reliance on barge-transported transshipment that impact the handling capacity of the port.
Transshipment handling volumes increased 66.3% at Kwai Tsing over the last decade, accounting for 72.9% of the port’s annual throughput last year. The port faces a challenge to handle these volumes while port back-up land remains 45% below international size standards.
Barge volume has also gone up over the last 10 years, by 32% that has had a crippling effect on barge traffic waiting times and congestion.
Chung calls for additional back-up land for large container storage depots that connect the port so that congestion and truck emissions can be tackled.
HKCTOA also envisages that 12 barge berths can be integrated with the existing container terminals and could greatly enhance the port’s efficiency and productivity within a short time span.
Tim Smith, the chairman of Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA), said: “We need to face up to and address the realities with intelligent, considered actions, in order to keep HK’s port competitive, and in the process support the overall Maritime Industry cluster, which is a vitally important component of Hong Kong’s economy.”
Professor Anthony Cheung, secretary for transport and housing, said: “Port infrastructure remains an important pillar of Hong Kong’s economy. The Government will continue to work with the industry to work out feasible measures to enhance the overall capability and efficiency of the Hong Kong Port and carry out the improvement measures in the pragmatic but forward looking manner.”