The Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) has launched several new barge initiatives, aiming to improve operational efficiency for barge operators in Hong Kong and South China.
With 12 dedicated barge berths, the alliance members handle 100 daily barge calls offering connections between more than 100 terminals in South China and more than 200 international weekly vessel calls.
Key features of the new barge initiatives include the standardisation of operations policy across HKSPA’s barge facilities, single berthing arrangement by zone and a ‘favourable’ dockage scheme.
Tony Tong, chairman of Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association, stated that the barge initiatives would help enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness in serving the barge hinterland in South China while reinforcing its position as a transhipment hub.
He said: “Barge volume is crucial to the logistics industry in Hong Kong and the new initiatives offer value to all stakeholders by streamlining barge operations and enhancing the economics and efficiency in operating barge cargo connection in Hong Kong.”
According to statement from the alliance, added efficiency and flexibility have helped to reduce the turnaround time of barge voyages, and barge operators are now incentivised to expand the scale of operations to achieve economies of scale.
Ellis Chung, chairman of Guangdong and Hong Kong Feeder Association, said: “Improving the turnaround time of our barges is always the key to enhancing our efficiency and improving the product we offer to our shipping line customers.
“HKSPA’s adoption of the terminal neutral model and standardisation of operations policy is expected to shorten our turnaround time, improve our slot utilisation, simplify administration and provide us with more flexibility.”
He continued: “HKSPA has taken a proactive approach in understanding our needs and concerns regarding adoption of best operating practice and improving the Common Barge Platform to simplify operational procedures.”
The HKSPA consists of four terminal operators: Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), Modern Terminals, COSCO-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals.