Hong Kong’s economy owes a great deal to the container port industry. The combined midstream services of Hong Kong terminal operators (Hutchison Port Holdings Trust — HIT, COSCO-HIT, Asia Container Terminals) have achieved 200 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) on the heels of HIT’s 45th anniversary.
The new milestone projects Hong Kong as a global container port market but also highlights the industry’s economic contribution to Hong Kong and a steady source of quality employment. Hong Kong has maintained its position as the world’s fourth busiest port by throughput, outperforming other much larger ports.
Hong Kong Port lacks the size but, a deeper port enables it to capitalise on the increasing reliance of shipping lines on mega vessels. It has a geographic advantage. The workers are adaptable and efficient in maintaining the sailing schedules and prompt departures.
HIT is acquiring the state-of-the-art infrastructure like remote-control operations for rubber-tired gantry cranes and rail-mounted gantry cranes, the first barge quay cranes in south China to replace jib cranes and a crane electrification program to phase out diesel-powered equipment. HIT has committed HK$1.8 billion (US$232.25 million) to an equipment investment plan for its long-term development. HIT is also training and improving its operational standards through the Port Engineering Academy to train young engineering staff. It is into nurturing talent for the logistics industry, becoming a signatory to the Occupational Safety Charter, collaborating with Polytechnic University to develop exercises for crane operators and presenting a wide range of engagement programs for staff, workers and their families.
A sharp rise in transshipment volume which often come in the form of barge traffic, has made Hong Kong a port of choice for international shipping lines. The status quo must be maintained if Hong Kong is to retain its competitive advantage over other regional ports.
The shift in traffic toward mega vessels and transshipment has exposed the lack of barge berths and yard space with very little space for cargo handling or expansion.
The government has to speed up the process to integrate adjacent land into the existing terminals. It will not only support port operations, enhance handling efficiency but also pave way for future growth.
Source: Hongkong International Terminals