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Old December 23rd, 2004, 07:11 PM   #81
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PSA runs into fresh setback in its Kwai Chung ambitions
ACT shareholders vow to take control of Sun Hung Kai Properties' stake by the end of this month

Nichole Chan
23 December 2004
South China Morning Post

Efforts by Singapore's state-owned PSA International Corp to grab a slice of Hong Kong's lucrative container traffic business have been foiled again, after its $2.3 billion offer for a 57 per cent stake in Asia Container Terminals (ACT) was nullified by existing shareholders yesterday.

NWS Holdings and CSX World Terminals, the two minority shareholders in the Kwai Chung container terminal operator, will match PSA's bid and take control of the stake owned by Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) by the end of this month, an NWS spokesman said yesterday.

"We have exercised our first right of refusal [as allowed in the ACT shareholding agreement]," the spokesman said.

The stake would be split between CSX and NWS in proportion to their shareholdings in ACT, he added.

Last month, PSA offered $685 million to Hongkong Land Holdings for a 28.5 per cent stake in ACT, which owns two idle berths at Container Terminal 8 West.

SHKP, however, swooped in to take the stake at a marginally higher price, doubling its holdings in ACT to 57 per cent.

Later in the month, SHKP announced it would sell its entire stake to PSA.

PSA's undoing came on December 7, when Dubai Ports International bought the equity in CSX World held by United States-based CSX Corp, or an effective 16.7 per cent interest in ACT.

Under the ACT shareholding agreement, shareholders retain the first right of refusal to buy any stake in ACT before it can be offered to non-competing outside parties.

With CSX selling its assets, it was never expected to pursue that option. But when Dubai Ports bought the CSX assets, it also acquired that pre-emption prerogative, which it has now apparently exercised.

Under the new arrangement, CSX World's stake in ACT will be raised to 68.61 per cent from 29.5 per cent.

NWS's holding in the terminal operator will increase to 31.39 per cent from 13.5 per cent.

NWS has an attributable interest of 33 per cent in CSX World.

There had been rumours that NWS might apply for an injunction to halt the sale of CSX's Hong Kong assets to Dubai Ports.

This would appear unlikely, given the companies' joint move to derail PSA's purchase of the ACT stake.

The NWS spokesman denied any ill will towards the Dubai Ports purchase.

"The rumours are not true. We have no intention of stopping the sale," he said.
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Old December 24th, 2004, 04:56 PM   #82
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US-based CSX also exercising rights over Asia Container - SHK Properties

HONG KONG (AFX) - Sun Hung Kai Properties, which is divesting its entire 57 pct stake in Asia Container Terminals, said ACT's US minority share-holder CSX Corp is also exercising its pre-emptive rights over the Kwai Chung container operator, after shareholder NWS Holdings announced the same intention.

NWS said earlier it has exercised its rights and subsequently offered to take the entire 57 pct stake of Sun Hung Kai in ACT.

A NWS spokesman has said that if CSX also exercised its rights, NWS's share would be limited to just 54 pct.

NWS, the infrastructure arm of New World Development, said it wanted to increase its stake in ACT to widen its business presence in Hong Kong's port industry.
CSX recently sold its assets to Dubai Ports, and along with them, the pre-emption prerogative to increase its shareholding in ACT.

The Sun Hung Kai spokeswoman said arrangements relating to the property developer's 57 pct stake in ACT will be finalized by year-end.

Under the current ACT shareholding agreement, existing ACT shareholders have the right to buy any stake in the terminal before it can be offered to outside parties.
The moves by the two minority shareholders effectively thwart Singapore state-owned PSA International's bid to acquire a significant stake in the terminal.

PSA had offered to buy Sun Hung Kai Properties' 57 pct stake in ACT and was reported to have offered 2.3 bln hkd for the stake.
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Old January 1st, 2005, 03:53 AM   #83
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Rivals oust PSA from Hong Kong port terminal
By Financial Times reporters
December 31 2004

PSA's ambition to enter Hong Kong's port, the world's busiest cargo hub, was dealt a blow by the decision of two rivals to oust the Singapore state-owned port group from one of the territory's terminals.

Dubai Port Authority and NWS Holdings, a local conglomerate, have exercised their pre-emption rights, paying HK$2.3bn (US$295.6m) to buy out PSA's 57 per cent stake in Asia Container Terminals, a small Hong Kong operator, DPA announced on Friday.

It is understood that DPA paid HK$1.58bn for an additional 39.1 per cent stake in ACT, boosting its total holding to 68.8 per cent, while NWS paid HK$720m to raise its total stake to 31.2 per cent.

The move is a blow to PSA, which has long been seeking a foothold in Hong Kong to compete with Hutchison Whampoa, the world's largest port group and its fiercest rival, for the growing trade coming from China.

Industry experts said Hutchison, controlled by Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest tycoon, could be interested in buying NWS's stake in ACT in order to ensure PSA is kept out of Hong Kong.

This month, the Singaporean group lost out to DPA in the race to buy the international assets of CSX, the US transport group, which comprised interests in some of Hong Kong's container terminals including a minority stake in ACT. After the US$1.2bn deal DPA became the world's sixth-largest port operator.

Industry analysts believe the latest setback could prompt Temasek, the Singapore state investment agency that is PSA's controlling shareholder, to revive plans for a listing of the port operator next year.

An initial public offering would enable PSA to raise funds to mount a stronger challenge against international rivals.

Although ACT's two berths in Hong Kong are idle, their purchase would strengthen DPA's position in the territory.
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Old January 1st, 2005, 10:52 AM   #84
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Wow, neat thread! I should check this section more often!

I should also sit down and read some of these articles sometime when I get the chance. Some of it's interesting stuff.

However, I still think the Port of Rotterdam is cooler. It looks like it's spread over a bigger area, which is cool.

Hong Kong's got better scenery though.
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Old January 4th, 2005, 08:34 PM   #85
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Dubai firm to boost stake in ACT - Mideast operator's US$200m buy-in will more than double its holding
Russell Barling
4 January 2005
South China Morning Post

The international investment arm of state-owned Dubai Ports Authority will spend US$200 million to increase its stake in Asia Container Terminals, Hong Kong's third-biggest terminal operator by capacity.

The outlay will more than double Dubai Ports International's stake in ACT but it will not wrest majority control of the company from its last remaining partner, NWS Holdings, which spent about $720 million to raise its shareholding in ACT last month, according to sources close to the Hong Kong-listed firm.

"It is in addition to the agreement we reached last month with CSX Corp and I can tell you the cost is in the area of US$200 million," Dubai Ports managing director Mohammed Sharaf said yesterday.

Last month, Dubai Ports agreed to pay US$1.15 billion before tax and liabilities for the global port assets of United States rail giant CSX Corp, including a 29.5 per cent stake in ACT, which owns and manages two berths at Container Terminal 8 West, and a majority share of Container Terminal 3.

NWS and CSX World Terminals (Hong Kong) exercised their options as original shareholders in ACT to match PSA International's $2.3 billion offer for the 57 per cent stake put on sale in November by Sun Hung Kai Properties.

Their intervention ended the Singapore port operator's dream of gaining its first foothold in the world's busiest container port.

By the end of next month, Dubai Ports will at least match the $1.58 billion CSX paid to raise its stake in ACT, while NWS lifted its effective shareholding in ACT to 54 per cent.

It is unclear if Dubai Ports will pay a premium to CSX for the extra stake, but the deal is expected by March to bring the Middle Eastern firm's three-month outlay for port infrastructure to at least US$1.35 billion before tax and liabilities.

SHKP said yesterday the deal had generated a one-off gain of $1.41 billion, sending property analysts scurrying to adjust last year's profit forecasts for Hong Kong's biggest commercial developer.

French investment house CLSA, for example, boosted its earnings target for SHKP 13.5 per cent to $11.9 billion, according to John Saunders, the head of regional property research.

NWS and Dubai Ports are soon to be partners in three container berths in Hong Kong and in logistics facility, Asia Terminals.

CSX also owned the "long-term" management contract for Container Terminal 8 West, a detail the partnership has yet to address, according to an ACT source. "The priority was to complete the [acquisition] first," he said. "Which company will run ACT has yet to be decided."
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Old January 7th, 2005, 03:14 AM   #86
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SHKP gains $1.4b from stake sale
Raymond Wang, Hong Kong Standard
January 4, 2005

Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP) said it will book a gain of HK$1.41 billion from selling its port stake to CSX World Terminals and NWS Holdings.

The exceptional gain, which accounts for about one-fifth of the company's HK$6.9 billion net profit for the year ended June 30, beat analysts' estimates of about HK$1 billion.

CLSA raised its forecast for the company's fiscal year 2005 earnings by 13.5 percent to HK$11.9 billion.

"The disposal further strengthens SHKP's already strong financial position," CLSA analyst Keith Yeung said. "Together with the recently arranged HK$12 billion bank loan, SHKP is likely to be entering into a big buying sphere in property."

SHKP initially planned to hold its stake in Asia Container Terminals Holdings (ACT) as a long-term investment and part of its strategy to expand into the logistics industry. The developer's first investment was in 1998, and it bought a further 28.5 per cent interest from Hong Kong Land for HK$685 million in November last year to obtain a controlling stake.

"However, the directors consider the offers to be exceptionally attractive and that it is in our best interest to dispose of our interest in ACT," SHKP executive director Michael Wong said.

Wong said the company continues to retain an interest in the logistics industry by holding 43 per cent of River Trade Terminal and 100 per cent of Airport Freight Forwarding Center.

"It is intended net proceeds from the disposal will be reinvested into the logistics industry whenever suitable investment opportunities arise," he said.

ACT wholly owns a unit whose principal asset is a container terminal at Kwai Chung and which is chiefly engaged in running the facility.

SHKP's stake in ACT was first sold to Singapore's state-owned PSA International Corp for HK$2.3 billion, but existing shareholders NWS and CSX exercised their pre-emptive rights to increase their stakes.

NWS, which owned a 13.5 percent stake, bought a 17.9 percent interest for HK$722.09 million while CSX raised its holding to 68.6 percent from 29.5 percent for HK$1.58 billion.

The deal came after an agreement last month in which Dubai Ports International signed a deal to buy the global port assets of CSX for US$1.15 billion.

SHKP shares closed unchanged at HK$77.75 per share on Monday. Shares of NWS, an infrastructure unit of New World Development, closed unchanged at HK$11.50.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 07:20 AM   #87
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DPI not likely to make waves
New player at HK port poses little threat to its well-established rivals
6 January 2005
South China Morning Post

By Valentine's Day, the bankers, lawyers, accountants and dealmakers who for the past year have pored over one of the biggest and most complex port sell-offs in history will have safely tucked billions of dollars into their clients' bank accounts.

It is an appropriate date because they will be remembered as sweetheart deals for the sellers. Not least of those will be American rail giant CSX Corp, which will pocket at least US$1.35 billion - or almost four times the book value of its assets, according to executives who have valued them - and be relieved of all associated tax and liabilities.

The jewels of the geographically diverse portfolio were undoubtedly its Hong Kong-based assets, including stakes in three berths. But questions remain about whether the deals will benefit the world's biggest container port and the economy that relies on it.

Last month, Dubai Ports International (DPI) emerged from the pack by having the deepest pockets and will take its place in Kwai Chung beside two of the world's biggest terminal developers, Hutchison Whampoa and Wharf Group.

Gone from Kwai Chung are CSX, and developers Hongkong Land Holdings and Sun Hung Kai Properties, for whom the lure of a quick buck proved too great to ignore.

Conglomerate NWS Holdings, however, shelled out $720 million last month to increase to 54 per cent its effective stake in Asia Container Terminals (ACT), and shore up its commitment to the port.

The management credentials of DPI, the Middle East's biggest port operator, are respected. There is also consensus that DPI's emergence on the scene is very unlikely to increase competition for customers or drive down cargo-handling rates at the main terminals.

But carrier executives and commodity traders cannot help but wonder what might have been if more-established players such as Singapore's PSA International or Denmark's APMoller Group, which owns the world's biggest container shipping line, Maersk Sealand, had won the bid for CSX's portfolio.

"From a shipping line's perspective, it was always going to be better to have CSX's Hong Kong assets sold to Dubai or PSA rather than have the incumbents increase their stranglehold on the deep-sea market here," said an executive at a leading European carrier. "But it also would have been better for the competitive environment at the port if the PSA or APMoller Group would have won, rather than Dubai."

DPI managing director Mohammed Sharaf has already moved to calm any jangled nerves exposed by a new face in Hong Kong's close-knit port community by saying DPI would "get our share without disrupting the market".

In fact, it is understood DPI will retain many of CSX's senior executives to manage the facilities they currently run, particularly in Asia.

But even if DPI was inclined to generate immediate business by undercutting the market, the carrier executive said the berths it bought a stake in - CT3 and CT8 - would have only limited appeal to the world's biggest shipping lines given the challenge of moving boxes between them.

"If you look at the locations of terminals 8 and 3, it would be difficult for a line to mount an efficient operation," he said. "That would handicap any operator from being able to attract a sizeable customer. DPI will be in a less advantageous position than the incumbents."

The volume of cargo moving across the docks at the main terminals rebounded last year after shaking off first-quarter doldrums caused by greater competition from facilities in Shenzhen.

Operators in Kwai Chung saw business grow a comparative 11.1 per cent to 13.4 million teu (20-foot equivalent units) for the year.

Perhaps more importantly, said Modern Terminals Ltd's (MTL) managing director Erik Bogh Christensen, they were also finally able to reclaim a portion of the growth from the greater Pearl River Delta market. By his estimates, Kwai Chung's operators siphoned off more than 30 per cent of the markets' expanded cargo volume last year.

Mr Christensen said the addition of the "like-minded" DPI to Hong Kong's waterfront would be more beneficial to the port than the property developers it replaced.

"It's good news because DPI is a real port operator; they're not a property developer trying to play port operator," he said.

Sun Hung Kai Properties and Hongkong Land both disposed of their stakes in ACT for tidy profits at the end of the year without the consortium ever having handled a box.

Several maritime trade executives saw the disposals as a lack of commitment to the overall development of the port and a direct result of the government's tendency to bend to influential firms wanting to bid for infrastructure projects outside their core industries.

There is also a camp that believes DPI brings less potential business to the table than other players which had been in the running for the CSX's assets.

United Arab Shipping, the flag carrier for the United Arab Emirates where DPI is based, already calls at MTL and contributes a maximum of 200,000 teu a year to the port's throughput. Other Middle Eastern carriers are relatively small players in the Asian region.

Given the dual constraints of its acquisitions and an acquisition price that would appear to rule out a rates war, the smart money is betting that DPI will slowly build its customer base over the next few years by serving smaller carriers and the spillover from the main operators.

Having paid a premium for rights to be in the world's biggest container market for the next 50 years, time is now on its side.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #88
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Industrial; property; sector roars; back to life
Resurgent demand for space attracts investors with rental yields of up to 10pc
Peggy Sito
29 December 2004
South China Morning Post

The industrial property market has rebounded this year after a decade-long slump, reflecting a turnaround in the economy.

A double-digit leap in air-cargo throughput and re-export volume fuelled demand for industrial space, property agents said.

Investors refocused on the industrial sector, lured by rental yields of 8 to 10 per cent, the highest across property segments where returns have been as low as 2 per cent.

Industrial space prices have risen 30 per cent and rents are up 15 per cent this year.

Alvan Chan Wai-chi, a sales director at Midland Realty's industrial and office division, said 4,474 transactions had been registered this year, surpassing 1997's 3,996 deals. But the figure was still less than half the number recorded at the sector's peak 10 years ago.

Property agents expect the sector to remain buoyant next year.

"The continued economic growth and the implementation of the closer economic partnership arrangement (Cepa) are expected to act as the incentives for real demand," Mr Chan said.

The number of categories of products made in Hong Kong entitled to zero import tariff when exported to the mainland rose from 374 to 713 after the second phase of Cepa was introduced in August.

More industrialists may move parts of their manufacturing bases back to Hong Kong in light of the Cepa arrangement, which is expected to lift demand for factory space, according to Mr Chan.

Hong Kong has been suffering from an oversupply of traditional factories since manufacturers moved their operating bases to the mainland in the 1980s.

"Next year, we will see a general recovery in the industrial property sector, from warehouses to factories and industrial office buildings," Mr Chan said.

Superior warehouses with substantial headroom capable of handling various cargoes have already taken the lead in the resurgent sector, having shown a recovery since the second half of last year.

Property agents said multinationals were increasingly choosing Hong Kong as a distribution hub while overseas companies that sourced goods in Asia and the mainland were selecting the city as a centre for consolidation.

Warehouses in prime locations such as Kwai Chung, Tsing Yi and Tsuen Wan now fetch monthly rents of $8 to $9 per square foot, up from $6 to $7 a year ago. The vacancy rate has fallen to zero.

Roy Wong Ying-nin, a general manager at Centaline Property Agency's industrial and office department, said improved retail sales would prompt manufacturers to increase demand for storage space. Instead of leasing quality warehouses, they would choose traditional factories because of cheaper rents.

But not all factory space will be in demand.

Mr Chan said newly built factories and those in the districts accessible to MTR stations, such as Kwun Tong and Kowloon Bay, would be sought after and he predicted vacancy rates would fall to less than 10 per cent.

"But those factories which were built a decade ago and are located in decentralised areas such as Yuen Long and Tuen Mun will still suffer from low demand," he said.

However, even in such areas with continuing higher vacancy rates of about 30 per cent, demand may eventually turn around as hotel and office developers, enticed by low prices, move in and enhance values.
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Old January 9th, 2005, 08:41 PM   #89
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Journal of Commerce Online
January 7, 2005, Friday
Hong Kong revamps land border clearance
BY P.T. BANGSBERG

A new system is in place to streamline clearance of the daily mountain of containers moving across the Hong Kong-China border.

Truckers with loaded vehicles must complete six copies of the new unified road cargo manifest, one of which is kept by the driver. Two copies go to mainland customs and the three others to Hong Kong customs. It will send copies to the territory's Trade and Industry and Census and Statistics departments.

Drivers of empty vehicles need a single copy of the unified manifest for both mainland and Hong Kong customs.

The revised system has been adopted formally by both Chinese and Hong Kong authorities.

"After a year of testing and extensive consultation with the cross-boundary transportation industry and relevant parties involved in cross-boundary trade, the unified road cargo manifest has been revised and improved," a spokesman for Hong Kong Customs and Excise said.

"Not only will the use of unified road cargo manifest save the manifest completion time, improve accuracy in road cargo manifests, but it will also facilitate cross-boundary trade."

Despite the sharp inroads made on Hong Kong's container business by adjacent Shenzhen on the mainland, trucks still move thousands of boxes back and forth. Most carry only a single container, leading to regular bottlenecks at the three crossing points and at Hong Kong terminals.

Officials in the territory and the mainland have worked for years to streamline cross-border movements as one way to ease the congestion. A bridge linking the world's busiest box port with Shenzhen's three biggest terminals should be complete this year, which officials say will further ease and speed movement.
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Old January 10th, 2005, 04:10 PM   #90
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HK's Modern Terminals to invest HK$1.2 bln on upgrade

HONG KONG, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Modern Terminals Ltd. (MTL) said on Monday it will invest HK$1.2 billion (US$153.8 million) over the next 18 months to upgrade its facilities at the Kwai Chung container terminals in Hong Kong.

"We aim to expand the handling capacity of our terminals 1, 2, and 5 in Kwai Chung," said Joel Cheung, MTL's corporate affairs manager. "Our goal is to bring the standard of our older terminals up to the standard of our other newer terminals."

Cheung said the upgrade will include the purchase of quayside cranes and other machinery. MTL, which is 55.34 percent owned by Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. , operates berths spread over terminals 1, 2, 5 and 9 in Hong Kong's port area.

(US$1=HK$7.8)
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Old January 10th, 2005, 06:06 PM   #91
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Any news about terminal #9?there are 6 berth in total.
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Old January 11th, 2005, 05:09 PM   #92
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South China Morning Post
January 10, 2005
Modern Terminals pumps $ 1.2b into facilities upgrade
Russell Barling

Modern Terminals (MTL) will spend $ 1.2 billion over the next 18 months to upgrade facilities at Kwai Chung, an investment the operator says will increase its annual handling capacity by as much as 25 per cent.

Managing director Erik Bogh Christensen told the South China Morning Post the upgrade was in line with a strategy outlined in the recent $ 7.8 million Master Plan 2020. The report suggested optimising the port's present infrastructure before building more terminals, perhaps on Lantau Island.

"The aim is to bring the older container terminals 1, 2 and 5 up to the newest terminal's operational standards," said Mr Christensen. "Master Plan 2020 recommends optimising existing capacity before considering CT10, and the government agrees that should be the immediate focus. We are acting on that."

The government report, commissioned from consultants GHK, said productivity improvements at Kwai Chung's ageing wharves would "expand the capacity of the port at a lower incremental cost and reduce the environmental footprint" compared with a new terminal project.

It estimated building a four-berth CT10 on Lantau would cost up to $ 9 billion.

The MTL upgrade will increase productivity - largely measured by how many boxes a quayside crane moves per hour - as well as prepare some of its wharves to serve the future generation of giant container ships.

Shipyards in South Korea have developed blueprints for 12,000-teu (20-foot equivalent unit) vessels, which would be 25 per cent larger than the biggest container ships now afloat, and at least one major European carrier is thought to be already building the industry's next-generation vessel.

MTL will purchase 10 of the latest quayside cranes, which can reach 22 boxes wide across a ship's deck. They have a list price of US$ 6 million to US$ 7 million each.

Deputy managing director Sean Kelly said MTL was "negotiating with several companies" to supply the cranes. Four are earmarked for the new wharves at CT9, which will receive $ 200 million of the overall investment budget.

Work will begin next year to strengthen the quay at CT5 to handle giant cranes and the stresses of berthing a new generation of 140,000 deadweight-tonne vessels. Dredging will begin this year to bring the alongside depth at terminals 1, 2 and 5 to 15.65 metres, in line with the Rambler Channel, the port's access route.

"The old terminals, which are around 30 years old, were built for a different era," said Mr Kelly. "Now that CT9 is online, with the growth we anticipate this upgrade is something that needed to be done."

Hutchison's Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) has also ordered a significant amount of port equipment - including new quay and rubber-tyre gantry cranes - to be delivered within the next two months, according to port sources.

However, a HIT spokesman declined to confirm those orders, saying: "It is group policy that we do not give specific details of investments or projects. Irrespective of the Master Plan 2020, HIT is continuously involved in investment programmes to modernise our facilities."

MTL will replace its older rail-mounted yard cranes, which are confined to tracks, with more-flexible rubber-tyre ones.

All told, the upgrade is expected to bring MTL's quay rate to 200 box moves per hour by 2008, expanding its annual handling capacity by about 1.4 million units.

It handled about 40 per cent of Kwai Chung's 13.4 million boxes last year.

"Hong Kong will continue to be an important part of the infrastructure that handles the trade connected to the Pear River Delta, which we expect to grow in double digits for the foreseeable future," Mr Kelly said.
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Old January 12th, 2005, 10:40 PM   #93
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Dearth of warehouses spurs rise in rents - Over the past year, logistics operators have been compelled to turn to older factory buildings in decentralised areas
12 January 2005
South China Morning Post

Warehouse landlords have been raising rents over the past year, with average rents going up 19.4 per cent. According to CB Richard Ellis, the rent hikes have been prompted by an overall vacancy rate of 3.5 per cent in Hong Kong warehousing (the figure is as low as 2.5 per cent in the Kwai Chung area).

The lack of sufficient purpose-built warehousing space for lease has resulted in logistics operators being driven increasingly to lease facilities in ordinary, clearly specified industrial buildings.

While there was no major resurgence of demand for industrial space for manufacturing purposes last year, the fact that logistics operators were being compelled to locate operations in ordinary industrial buildings has had a positive impact on the market for flatted factory buildings. According to the Ratings and Valuation Department, average vacancy levels in this industrial market sub-segment dropped from 10.6 per cent to 10.1 per cent in the 12-month period.

It should be noted that the flatted factory buildings market is sub-divided into two tiers which perform differently.

On the one hand, there are the older, generally outmoded factory buildings that tend to be concentrated in decentralised locations. Large pockets of vacancies exist in the older factory buildings in secondary industrial areas, with vacancy rates hovering at above 10 per cent.

The second tier covers modern factory buildings with better specifications and good access to transportation networks. At present, the demand is strong for such properties. Vacancies for buildings in this category are estimated at slightly under 5 per cent. Such high quality, better-positioned factory buildings are benefiting from a number of factors.

The first is the simple lack of warehouse space for lease in traditional logistics hub areas, a situation that has forced many logistics operators to lease space in standard industrial buildings in good locations.

Second, there is the fact that while the demand for better quality, conveniently located industrial facilities continues to grow, virtually no new industrial buildings have been developed in Hong Kong over the past five years.

Against a backdrop of no new supply, a substantial number of factory buildings have been demolished in recent years, starting in the late 1990s. Developers have been trying to either convert properties for other uses, or to demolish buildings for redevelopment.

Between 2000 and 2004 alone, a total of 3.7 million sq ft of factory space was demolished, the equivalent of 742,000 sq ft per annum.

The relocation of certain small-sized business operations from the mainland back to Hong Kong, under the preferential terms of Cepa Phase II, has not had a marked impact on the local factory space market.

As a result of the continuing demands of logistics company operators, we would expect average prime factory vacancies (currently at slightly under 5 per cent) to continue to decline over the short to medium term, and rents and capital values to rise 12 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, this year.

At the same time, we would expect rentals and vacancy rates in the more weakly positioned older factory properties in decentralised locations to continue to hover around the present level.

Andrew Ness is an executive director of global research and consulting at CB Richard Ellis
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Old January 15th, 2005, 06:35 PM   #94
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Kwai Chung needs to reverse the tide
14 January 2005
South China Morning Post

It's official. For the first time last year Shenzhen handled more of south China's direct shipments of manufactured goods than the main terminal operators at Kwai Chung.

Although the writing has been on the wall for years, when the official figures are released tomorrow they will reveal that Kwai Chung handled just under 13.4 million boxes last year, up a comparative 11 per cent, against 13.66 million units in Shenzhen, up 28 per cent.

The chart above maps out Shenzhen's rising share of south China's deep-sea trade over the past five years; look at it another way and Hong Kong's declining recent fortunes in the region's highest-value sector of maritime trade is just as starkly illustrated.

Moreover, analysts believe Kwai Chung's rate of growth will slow to mid-single digits this year because its operators are unlikely to repeat the one-off boost they generated from substantially dropping box-handling fees to attract more river trade.

If they are right, it would open the door next year for Singapore to regain its title of the world's busiest container port, a moniker it has held just once - 1998 - in the past decade.

Given up as a port entering its sunset years in 2002 when Maersk Sealand and Evergreen Marine left the Lion City for the cheaper confines of Malaysia's Tanjung Pelepas (PTP), the PSA Corp is back.

The world's No2 port operator by volume moved 20.6 million boxes across its Singapore docks, up a comparative 14.1 per cent. Tack on the contribution from the independent Jurong Port development and Singapore reached 21.34 million boxes, up 15.9 per cent, and just a hair under the 22 million boxes Hong Kong will post later this week.

PSA engineered its resurgence by facing some home truths, chief among which was that its container handling prices were going to have to come down if it was going to stop the exodus of cargo across the Johor Strait.

Hong Kong needs to grasp the same nettle, but the signs are not promising.

For one, it was always a zero-sum game for PSA: any cargo that moved to PTP came 100 per cent off its bottom line. With Hong Kong's main operators also controlling the ports across the border, there is less incentive to keep the cargo in Kwai Chung.

Worryingly, while there is prima facie evidence, the cost of calling at Hong Kong's main terminals has gradually declined in the past five years, operators say there is no need to further reduce their fees as they are now roughly equal to those in Yantian, Shenzhen's biggest port.

Those fees put the biggest dent in local shippers' pockets, but the terminal operators are not responsible for all cost disadvantages foisted on traders opting to use our port.

Rules governing the trucking industry have put Hong Kong at a US$200 per box disadvantage vis-a-vis our cross-border rivals, as has the government and industry's inability to come to grips with US$100 higher terminal handling charge (THC) levied by shipping lines.

The government, led by the permanent secretary for economic development Sandra Lee Suk-yee, appears to want to tackle the problem alone. According to a member of our port community, her ministry has declined the private sector's offers of help.

Early indications are that Shenzhen and Beijing are open to dismantling two of the regulations - known as 4-up-4-down, and 1-truck-1-driver - artificially inflating the cost of cross-border trucking.

However, dissolution of the licensing cartel is thought to be unlikely.

Elimination of the two regulations would cut US$132 off the overall US$300 per box cost disadvantage, according to last year's McKinsey report.

Reducing the US$100 THC differential remains the furthest from our grasp: the terminal operators and shipping lines have no interest in solving the issue and the government lacks the steel to hold them to account.

The level of the THC, a basket of costs that the carriers pass on to customers for calling in Hong Kong, has not changed here for more than a decade, despite clear evidence port costs have dropped.

A quick scan of the results for Cosco Pacific - the port's No4 operator - appears to prove container handling charges fell for the six years to 2003: revenues per box at CT8 East were $814 in 1998 against $668 in 2003.

A different cargo mix could account for some, but not all, of that difference.

However, eliminating any one of the myriad of our cost disadvantages is not going to solve the problem, which is why Hong Kong is really behind the eight-ball this year if it wants to remain the world's top container port.

Instead of following tradition and pointing to causes outside their domain, each sector, public or private, will have to ask what they can do to this year to maintain the long-term economic health of the port where they have made their billions.

For the government that means getting a backbone; for the carriers it means coming clean on the THC; and for the terminal operators it means a further cut in container handling charges.

Otherwise, at the end of the year, we'll be able to hear Singapore's celebrations from Kwai Chung.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 05:07 AM   #95
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Hong Kong NWS Says It Has No Plan To Buy Dubai Ports' ACT Stake
Tuesday January 11

HONG KONG -(Dow Jones)- Hong Kong infrastructure firm NWS Holdings Ltd. said Tuesday it has no plan to buy Dubai Ports International's 46% stake in Asia Container Terminals Ltd., one of Hong Kong's port operators.

A local Chinese-language newspaper, The Hong Kong Economic Journal, reported Tuesday that NWS offered to buy Dubai Ports' entire stake in ACT for more than HK$3 billion, to make it the sole owner of the firm.

However, Maria Cheung, corporate communications manager at NWS, said: "We haven't submitted any proposals to Dubai Ports and we have no plan to buy Dubai Ports' stake."

Early last month, Dubai Ports agreed to buy U.S. railway operator CSX Corp.'s (CSX) container terminal portfolio for US$1.5 billion. That portfolio included a 20% stake in ACT.

Before the completion of Dubai Ports' deal with CSX, expected this quarter, CSX and NWS exercised their pre-emptive rights to buy Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.'s 57% stake in ACT at the end of December.

NWS said its effective stake in ACT is now 54%, while CSX holds 46%, which will be transferred to Dubai Ports on completion of their deal.

ACT has a total stacking capacity of 36,414 20-foot equivalent units, or TEUs It began its two berth-operation at Hong Kong's Kwai Chung Port in the middle of 2004.

Gavin Anderson & Co., a public relations firm representing Dubai Ports, declined to comment.

-By Carmen Chan, Dow Jones Newswires; 852-2802-7002; carmen.chan@dowjones.com
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Old January 17th, 2005, 08:37 PM   #96
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Sea Transport Overview
Source : http://transport.tdctrade.com/

Endowed with a deep-water, silt-free natural harbour strategically located along a major sea route and with the Chinese mainland providing a huge cargo base, Hong Kong has become a sea transport hub in Asia.

Advanced port facilities and efficient port services are complemented by excellent trade, financial and other services which underpin Hong Kong's status as the 11th largest trading entity in the world. The port handles more than 80% of Hong Kong's total external cargo volume.

Hong Kong was the world's busiest container port in 2003, handling 20.4 million TEUs. According to the Marine Department, Hong Kong gets 1 vessel arriving or departing every 1.2 minutes, 1 TEU handled every 2 seconds and 1 passenger entering or leaving by ferries every 2 seconds.

Hong Kong's port is renowned for its efficiency. All container terminals are privately owned and operated. Productivity enhancement through new cargo management techniques has raised their handling efficiency.

The completion of Container Terminal Number 9 in August 2004 added 4 berths for container vessels and 2 feeder berths for coastal vessels and barges. This new container terminal has a design capacity to handle 2.6 million TEUs per year.

Strong expansion of the southern China cargo base is expected to provide long-term growth of port traffic in Hong Kong, despite some diversion of ocean-going transhipment cargo and the competition from new ports in southern China.
According to Hong Kong Port Cargo Forecasts 2000/2001, Hong Kong's total container throughput is projected to reach 29.7 million TEUs in 2010 and 40.5 million TEUs in 2020. These represent average annual growth rates of 5.3% and 3.1% respectively during the first and second decades from 2000.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) ranked Hong Kong as the seventh busiest maritime centre in 2003 in terms of vessel tonnage.

Range of Services

The sea transport sector is of vital importance in supporting Hong Kong's status as the world's 11th largest trading entity, since it handles more than 80% of Hong Kong's total external cargo tonnage. River trade vessels are increasingly being used to carry goods between Hong Kong and Southern China, which has become the main cargo source for the territory.

In 2003, Hong Kong handled 207 million tonnes of seaborne and river cargo, 72% of which were by ocean-going vessels. Of all such seaborne cargo, 61 million tonnes (29%) were transhipment cargo. The Chinese mainland was the biggest source and destination of Hong Kong's transhipment business.

Overall, 73% of the seaborne cargoes in 2003 were containerised. Practically all transhipment cargoes were carried by containers. More than 90% of seaborne exports were containerised, while the ratio for seaborne imports was more than 60%.

Hong Kong handled 20.4 million TEUs of containers in 2003, making it the world's busiest container port. Of the total, two-thirds were handled by container terminals at Kwai Chung and Stonecutters Island, with the rest handled mid-stream by Hong Kong's 58 mooring buoys and by river trade facilities. The moorings also handle most of Hong Kong's break bulk cargo.

Liner versus bulk shipping

Sea cargoes to and from Hong Kong are carried both by liners and bulk vessels. Liner shipping is operated under a scheduled timetable with pre-announced rates and destinations. Many key routes are under liner conferences (agreements by the main shipping lines on tariffs and sailings). Hong Kong is served by some 200 shipping lines. Containerised cargo dominates the liner market in Hong Kong.

The larger container lines have invested in advanced systems to provide cargo tracking information and improve efficiency. They often form alliances or merge with other transport providers to develop door-to-door multi-modal services. Many liners are also forming alliances amongst themselves to increase efficiency and reduce cost in a very competitive environment. Vessel sharing has enabled the liners to offer a more flexible service in terms of global coverage, higher frequency of departures and a greater choice of routes.

Bulk shipping takes care of bulky, unpacked goods such as oil, gas, grain, minerals and timber.

Port Facilities

Hong Kong's port facilities are financed, built, owned and operated by private firms. It is the only major port not run by a port authority.

Container Terminals

Hong Kong has 9 existing container terminals with a total of 24 berths at Kwai Chung and Stonecutters Island, operated by 5 private consortia. Through various productivity enhancement measures, their combined throughput capacity is around 14 million TEUs per year.

River Trade Terminal

The Pearl River links Hong Kong with many manufacturing centres in Southern China, which has become the main cargo base for the territory. River trade has been the fastest growing external transport mode over the past few years, rising from 9.3 million tonnes in 1990 to 59 million tonnes in 2003. Currently, river-trade vessels use the 8 public cargo working areas, some privately run berths and terminals, 3 feeder berths at the container terminals, and the dedicated River Trade Terminal (RTT) in Tuen Mun, which started operation in November 1998.

Service Providers

Shipowners own ships to obtain an income. In the liner shipping market, ship owners can rent ships to a shipping line. In the bulk shipping market, ships can be rented on a time or voyage basis to a ship charterer or ship operator.

Hong Kong is a major ship owning and management centre. As at May 2004, there were 953 vessels (23 million gross registered tons) on the Hong Kong Shipping Register. According to the Hong Kong Shipowners' Association, the total tonnage of ships owned or managed by its members was around 62 million deadweight tonnes (8.1% of world's commercial fleet) as at December 2002.

Shipping lines tend to own and/or lease a group of ships which they deploy on pre-determined liner routes. Ship operators rent ships from owners and use them to carry bulk cargoes from port to port. The aim of the operators is to reduce the number of wasted voyages and this requires careful selection of the ship, its routes and cargo.

Shipping lines use shipping agent to sell their freight space in a particular port. The shipping broker acts to match the supply of bulk vessels from operators/owners with the demand for bulk cargo shipments by the charterers.

Moreover, there are more than 1,000 companies in Hong Kong providing shipping-related services such as ship management and brokerage services, financing, insurance and legal support.

Exports

Hong Kong earned HK$ 40.2 billion from exporting sea transport services in 2001, or 12.3% of total services exports for that year. Unlike air transport, passenger revenue constituted an insignificant part of the exports of sea transport services.

The Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement between Hong Kong and the Mainland (CEPA)

According to China's WTO commitment and the Regulations on the Administration of Foreign Investment in International Marine Shipping (issued by MOCOM and became effective in June 2004), only foreign joint-venture is allowed to provide the following services: maritime cargo-handling services, customs clearance services for maritime transport, container station and depot services, international shipping, international shipping agency, international ship management, international marine shipping freight loading and unloading international marine shipping container terminal and yard business.

By contrast, the CEPA II provisions allow Hong Kong services provides to have greater flexibility to access the market as they will be allowed from 1 January 2005 to form wholly-owned units in providing certain types of maritime services like international ship management services, containers station and depot services, non-vessel operating common carrying services, port cargo loading and unloading services.

Although Hong Kong services providers can only establish wholly-owned companies to provide supplies services (except fuel and water) and shipping agency services for vessels owned or managed by their parent companies, it is still important as Hong Kong shipping companies will have greater autonomy in conducting their own business resulting from CEPA II provisions.

For a Hong Kong company providing maritime transport services, 50% or more of the ships owned by it, calculated in terms of tonnage, should be registered in Hong Kong.
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Old January 18th, 2005, 02:36 PM   #97
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Tuesday January 18, 7:17 PM
Hong Kong Port's Container Traffic Rose 7% In 2004

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Container shipping traffic through Hong Kong grew 7% in 2004, according to preliminary estimates from the city's Port Development Council.

A total of 21.93 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, passed through the container terminals and other cargo-handling facilities of the world's busiest container port last year. In 2003, the port's throughput was 20.45 million TEUs.

For the month of December, Hong Kong's port handled 1.79 million TEUs, representing a decline of 2.9% from the same month last year.

The Kwai Chung container terminals, which handle the bulk of Hong Kong's traffic, had throughput of 13.43 million TEUs, an 11.2% increase over the previous year.

Though there was a double-digit increase in its throughput last year, Kwai Chung's terminals handled less cargo than the Shenzhen port for the first time ever, highlighting the intense competition between the local port and neighboring facilities in southern China.

In the mid-1990s, Hong Kong handled more than 90% of all cargo originating from the Pearl River Delta, the region's industrial hub. That share has fallen to about 60%.

Throughput in Shenzhen, comprised mainly of the Yantian, Chiwan and Shekou terminals, reached 13.65 million TEUs last year, a rise of 28% from 2003.

The pace of throughput growth in Shenzhen is expected to accelerate further as newly completed berths add to the port's handling capacity. By contrast, no new berths are planned in Hong Kong until 2015 at the soonest.

In Hong Kong, the throughput of other cargo-handling facilities, such as private wharves and anchorages, rose a modest 1.5% to 8.51 million TEUs last year. They handled 8.38 million TEUs in the previous year.

The nine container terminals at Kwai Chung have five operators: Modern Terminals Ltd., which is 55% owned by Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. (0004.HK); Hongkong International Terminals Ltd., or HIT, a unit of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (0013.HK); CSX World Terminals Hong Kong Ltd., a unit of CSX Corp. (CSX); COSCO-HIT Terminals Ltd., a joint venture between COSCO Pacific Ltd. (1199.HK) and HIT; and Asia Container Terminals Ltd., whose shareholders are CSX World Terminals, NWS Holdings Ltd. (0659.HK), and Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (0016.HK).
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Old January 20th, 2005, 04:45 PM   #98
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Study says 13-18% higher cost for shipping through Hong Kong than Yantian


Nov / Dec 2004

Terminal handling charges could be another differentiator, averaging HK$8,750 for a 5,000 kilo shipment through Hong Kong, versus HK$2,750 through Guangzhou's Baiyun

The cost of transferring consignments through Hong Kong is high by comparison with competitor exit points in the Pearl River Delta, but the sources of additional cost varied, according to a study commissioned by DHL Express conducted by a team from the Chinese University's Center of Cyber Logistics.

For sea freight, the cost of getting a consignment from factory gate to a destination market varied from 13% to 18% higher through Hong Kong than Yantian. Most of the cost difference was accounted for by high trucking costs Dan average of HK$3,200 through Hong Kong, compared with HK$1,200 through Yantian.

For air freight, terminal handling charges could be another differentiator, averaging HK$8,750 for a 5,000 kilo shipment through Hong Kong, versus HK$2,750 through Guangzhou's Baiyun.

As a result, overall costs of getting a consignment to market ranged from 11% more expensive through Hong Kong (to Europe) to 26% more expensive to Japan.

"The study clearly flagged that such a large cost difference could be a source of vulnerability for Hong Kong in future," said Kelly Yu, General Manager of DHL Express Hong Kong. "However, there are currently tremendous strengths that enable Hong Kong to remain attractive and competitive in spite of these costs. These include superior connectivity and frequencies both in Asia and globally, as well as immense trust in the efficiency and simplicity of Hong Kong's customs processes. They also include tax management advantages that arise from establishing an "importer of record" in Hong Kong."

Many Pearl River Delta manufacturers could take better advantage of logistics services that would improve the reliability of the supply chain, aid efficiency, and reduce costs, according to the study. Hong Kong retains considerable strengths as a competitive hub, including unmatched connectivity, and high levels of transparency and efficiency in customs and excise procedures.

At the same time, however, a key challenge for Hong Kong as a competitive logistics hub is high costs. The study highlights the need for investment in specialized logistics centers in Hong Kong, in particular for material handling and component distribution.

DHL believes that a logistics centre should focus first on spare parts storage, repair and return and other specialized services, and second on driving highly efficient "cross docking" services for cargoes transiting "Hub Hong Kong".

Professor Cheung Waiman, who leads the Chinese University team in an intensive study of 25 companies across five sectors in four PRD cities, concluded that most manufacturers are either unaware of, or not making optimal use of value- and efficiency-driving logistics services.

The study found evidence of a powerful clustering of activity around a "North Asia-Pacific Economic Zone" - with Hong Kong being the hub for strong growth in material imports from Japan, Korea and Taiwan, with finished goods emerging for sale in global markets. In addition, the study noted a Japanese clustering, with materials being imported from Japan for eventual re-export to Japan as finished goods: "This seems to point to many Japanese companies outsourcing to the PRD certain stages of the production chain," said Professor Cheung: "Hong Kong appears to play an important "cross-docking" role as materials and components are brought together by road, air and sea from many origination points in Asia."

Yu believed the findings called for careful attention to costs in Hong Kong, but perhaps more importantly called for enhanced focus on specialized and value-adding logistics services. He called for the Hong Kong Government to consider the need for new Logistics Centres both at Chek Lap Kok (CLK), and at locations close to CLK, like Tsing Yi.
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 01:58 PM   #99
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HK may lose busiest container port title


HONG KONG, Fri: Hong Kong is set to lose its title as world’s busiest container port to Singapore this year and China’s Shanghai and Shenzhen ports are steadily catching up, analysts said today.

Hong Kong moved 21.93 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of goods last year, up 7.3 per cent from the year earlier as China’s export growth remained strong, the Port Development Council estimated.

But Singapore, the world’s second-busiest port, handled a record 21.3 million TEUs in 2004, up about 16 per cent due to booming regional trade.

“It is very possible that Singapore will surpass Hong Kong by volume as Hong Kong’s throughput growth is seen slowing to about 2.3 per cent this year,” said K.Y. Ng, a port analyst at Nomura International. — Reuters
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Old January 22nd, 2005, 07:27 PM   #100
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Hong Kong may lose title of busiest container port

HONG KONG - Hong Kong is set to lose its title as world's busiest container port to Singapore this year and China's Shanghai and Shenzhen ports are steadily catching up, analysts said on Friday.

Hong Kong moved 21.93 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of goods last year, up 7.3 percent from the year earlier as China's export growth remained strong, the Port Development Council estimated.

But Singapore, the world's second-busiest port, handled a record 21.3 million TEUs in 2004, up about 16 percent due to booming regional trade, according to port operators.

"It is very possible that Singapore will surpass Hong Kong by volume as Hong Kong's throughput growth is seen slowing to about 2.3 percent this year," said K.Y. Ng, a port analyst at Nomura International.

Singapore government-run PSA Corp Ltd, the city state's main port operator, has said it plans to build 15 new berths over the next five to seven years to expand its annual handling capacity to 31 million TEUs from 20 million TEUs.

PSA moved 20.6 million TEUs of goods last year, up 14 percent, while its rival Jurong Port more than doubled its throughput to 711,000 TEUs from 340,000 TEUs.

Despite what is often seen as a keen regional rivalry, Ng said Singapore and Hong Kong are not direct competitors.

Singapore focuses on the less-profitable transhipment business, where goods are moved from ship to ship before sailing to their final destination. Hong Kong, capitalising on its location on the doorstep of China's export engine, specialises in more-profitable direct shipments.

Analysts said the PSA has become more responsive on pricing since losing several key customers to neighbouring Malaysia a few years ago. In Hong Kong, many of the port operators also have significant investments in neighbouring Chinese ports, making them less vulnerable to competitive pressures.

Hong Kong's listed port operators, including Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (0013.HK), Wharf (Holdings) Ltd.'s (0004.HK) Modern Terminal Ltd., China Merchants Holdings (International) Co. Ltd. (0144.HK) and COSCO Pacific (1199.HK) should have good earnings growth in their Hong Kong and mainland business in 2004, analysts said.

China's export growth is expected to slow to between 10 to 15 percent this year from 32.7 percent last year and that could slow container traffic growth in the region, Ng said.

China's robust exports underpinned buoyant container traffic in the mainland, Hong Kong, Singapore and other Pacific ports.

About one-third of mainland exports originate from the booming southern province of Guangdong, and are shipped mainly through Hong Kong and Shenzhen ports.

Hong Kong officials say there is plenty of China business to go around, but the territory has been steadily losing market share in the past few years to Shenzhen, where a 40-foot container is US$300 cheaper to process.

Last year, Shenzhen port for the first time moved more goods than Hong Kong's main container facilities at Kwai Chung. The city handled 13.66 million TEUs while Kwai Chung moved 13.43 million TEUs in 2004.

Shenzhen's growth rate was close to that of China's busiest container port Shanghai, which increased 29 percent to 14.55 million TEUs. Shenzhen port forecast 10-14 precent volume growth this year to 15-15.5 million TEUs.

"It is not surprising that Shenzhen will overtake Hong Kong -- it's just a matter of time," said Peter So, an analyst at Macquarie Securities.

Hong Kong port operators have been stepping up investments in mainland ports to tap China's trade growth, a trend that is expected to continue.

Reuters
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