UWL - The Asset-Based Freight Forwarder - NVOCC - Hong Kong
Government Makes Start on Port Woes, But Not Nearly Enough: HAFFA
July 31, 2015
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The Hong Kong Government’s recent Study on the Strategic Development Plan for Hong Kong Port 2030 is a move in the right direction, but not enough to do what needs to be done. That’s the reaction of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding (HAFFA) to proposals by the Transport and Housing Bureau to enhance the use of back-up land at the Kwai Tsing port. While welcoming the plans as a “positive first step” towards enhancing cargo handling capacity and operational efficiency, it was hardly a solution to congestion at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals (KTCT). Bureau proposals include integration of land into the terminal area to increase yard space and barge berthing facilities. But even if implemented, said HAFFA, it would only ease the current problems in the short term, increasing the yard-to-berth ratio from the current 11.6 to 12.4, “still far below the international standard of 25”. Bureau proposals also include creating multi-story facilities on suitable port back-up sites to be used for vehicle parking or storage or consolidation, and could release more land to support port operations and future development. HAFFA reiterated concerns about shortage of space resulting high warehouse rental costs. HAFFA said it was imperative to bring down costs. The trucking cost difference between Shenzhen and Hong Kong was US$350 per TEU, “which is significant for shippers”. Said HAFFA: “The provision of low-cost land is essential for the Hong Kong logistics industry to maintain its competitiveness as a regional logistics hub.” The space shortage has become more critical now that many landlords in the New Territories have terminated tenancy agreements with container field stations, said HAFFA. Gone are parking sites to make way for the Border Shopping Centre, there is a high and immediate demand to provide additional spaces or back-up land to replace the lost facilities. In addition to the Bureau proposals relating to the back-up land at KTCT, HAFFA appealed to the government to identify additional sites such as those at Lantau North (Siu Ho Wan), Tuen Mun West, Tsuen Wan, Tsing Yi and Kwai Chung.