Hutchison Ports has announced that Hong Kong International Terminals Limited (HIT), Modern Terminals Limited, COSCO-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals will collaborate to form the Hong Kong Seaport Alliance, a project designed to improve operations in the Port of Hong Kong.
The creation of the Seaport Alliance is in direct response to what Hutchison Port describes as the “rapidly changing environment”, including the formation of new carrier alliances and general carrier industry consolidation and the dramatic increase in vessel sizes over the last few years.
Hong Kong is the sixth busiest port in the world but has seen its TEU traffic consistently decline since 2005, when it got pushed off first place.
Part of the reason behind its poor fortunes its slow adoption of automation technology compared to other ports in China and region at large.
It also suffered after China relaxed laws prohibited foreign-flagged vessels from moving cargo from one mainland port to another in 2013.
Previous restrictions meant Hong Kong was the main gateway to China for many foreign firms and allowed the port to benefit massively as the country’s economy boomed in the first decade of the 2000s.
Speaking about the collaboration, Gerry Yim, Managing Director of Hong Kong International Terminals, said: “The formation of the Seaport Alliance will further enhance efficiencies, increase utilisation and improve our overall service offering to customers.
Peter Levesque, Group Managing Director of Modern Terminals Limited, also commented: “The Seaport Alliance will improve the value proposition of Hong Kong to customers, while reducing emissions and enabling Hong Kong to more effectively compete within the region.
“For almost two centuries Hong Kong has played a vital role in the facilitation of global trade. The Seaport Alliance, and the application of new technologies, will enable Hong Kong to thrive as an international shipping hub for decades to come”.
Lawrence Shum, Managing Director, COSCO-HIT Terminals (Hong Kong) Limited, made this observation: “The maritime and port industry is a major part of trading and logistics which is one of the four economic pillars of Hong Kong. We will work together to enhance the position of Hong Kong as an international shipping centre”.
Hanaliang Zhu, Managing Director, Asia Container Terminals Limited, said the alliance could help Hong Kong regain its place as a key gateway.
“By achieving additional efficiencies through optimised use of terminal assets, the Port of Hong Kong will continue to be a reliable transshipment hub in the region and a key gateway to China”.