Wharf Holdings Chairman Expresses Concerns Over Hong Kong Port’s Competitiveness

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  • Stephen Ng Tin Hoi, chairman of Wharf Holdings, voices apprehensions regarding the declining competitiveness of the Hong Kong port amidst emerging southern Chinese ports’ robust growth.
  • Despite Wharf Holdings’ decreased operating profit in 2023 and the port’s diminishing throughput, Ng urges government intervention to revitalize Hong Kong’s port and address challenges posed by global shipping disruptions and shifting alliance dynamics.
  • Collaboration between the government and industry stakeholders is emphasized to strengthen the port’s competitiveness in the evolving maritime landscape.

Stephen Ng Tin Hoi, chairman of Wharf Holdings, expressed concerns about the waning competitiveness of the Hong Kong port, noting its decline in global rankings and decreased throughput compared to regional competitors.

Financial Performance of Wharf Holdings

Wharf Holdings, which operates container terminals in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, experienced a significant decline in operating profit from its logistics business in 2023, with the group’s Hong Kong terminal witnessing a 15% decrease in output to 3.7 million TEU.

Emergence of Southern Chinese Ports

Ng highlighted the emergence of southern Chinese ports like Nansha, which are experiencing strong growth, posing increased competition to Hong Kong’s port. He urged the government to take action to revitalize the territory’s port and strengthen its competitiveness.

Impact of Global Shipping Disruptions

Recent disruptions in global shipping, including incidents in the Panama and Suez canals, have realigned supply chains, affecting the volumes handled by the Hong Kong port. Additionally, the restructuring of shipping alliances, such as the break-up of the 2M alliance and the formation of the Gemini Cooperation, adds uncertainty to the port’s future.

Outlook and Analysis

Analysts suggest that while the departure of Hapag-Lloyd from THE Alliance may have minimal impact on Hong Kong’s volumes, the overall competitive landscape and market dynamics in the shipping industry continue to evolve, requiring strategic responses from port operators and stakeholders.

Government and Industry Collaboration

Ng emphasized the need for collaboration between the government and the industry to enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong’s container terminals and regain market share in the face of intensifying regional competition and global shipping challenges.

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Source: Container News