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Old March 4th, 2005, 05:03 PM   #121
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Container Terminal 9 (South)



Modern Terminals owns and operates Container Terminals 1, 2, 5 and 9 (South) in Kwai Chung Port, Hong Kong, with an annual handling capacity of 5.5 million TEUs.









Some new quay cranes delivered to Modern Terminals' CT9. These cranes have an outreach capability of 22 containers across, designed to service the biggest container vessels in the world. Photo taken on: 3/9/2004



Among the first batch of advanced equipment delivered to the new Container Terminal 9 (South) are rubber-tyred gantry cranes (RTGs).









Container Terminal 9 (South) commenced operations in 2003.
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Old March 10th, 2005, 02:42 PM   #122
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Higher Rates, Capacity Helped Double OOIL 04 Net
By Jeffrey Ng
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
10 March 2005

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Higher shipping rates and increased capacity helped Orient Overseas (International) Ltd. (0316.HK) double its net profit in 2004, the container shipping and port operator said Thursday.

Net profit for the year ended Dec. 31 rose to US$670.4 million, compared with US$329.0 million in the previous year. Revenue rose to US$4.14 billion from US$3.24 billion.

OOIL recommended a final dividend of 18 US cents, up from 12.8 US cents. OOIL also recommended a bonus share for every 10 stocks held.

The results came in above market expectations. A Thomson Financial poll of eight analysts put OOIL's net profit at US$563.8 million.

In anticipation of strong 2004 results, OOIL's shares have risen over 20% since the end of February. On Thursday, its shares closed up 1.1% at HK$37.90.

The company said its average shipping rates in 2004 rose about 7.3% from the previous year, while shipping capacity increased 19%, after the company took delivery of four large container vessels.

OOIL, which is controlled by the family of outgoing Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, said its outlook for 2005 remains positive, driven by still-strong shipping rates, and the continued improvement in its container terminals business.

"We expect that demand will exceed supply this year," said OOIL's Chief Financial Officer Nicholas Sims. "(Shipping) rates won't fall if demand is still there."

In 2004, OOIL's container terminal investments in North America recorded a 47% on-year rise in profits before tax. The company expects such growth to be maintained this year.

Contributions from port investments in China are also expected to increase, after OOIL in January signed a letter of intent with Ningbo Port Group and other parties to develop five berths at the port of Beilun in eastern China.

However, Sims didn't provide any growth forecasts for this year. "We don't know what the second half will hold," he said.

OOIL's results come a day after rival China Shipping Container Lines Co. (2866.HK) reported a near-threefold surge in net profit to CNY4.02 billion on a 16% increase in average shipping rates. China Shipping expects shipping rates to continue rising at about 4% to 5% this year, before holding steady in 2006.

For this year, OOIL has earmarked US$693 million for capital expenditure costs, which includes the purchase of new ships and container boxes.

However, that amount might be decreased, Sims said, as OOIL plans to defer the order of some container boxes due to current high container costs.
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Old March 13th, 2005, 04:50 PM   #123
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Threat of price war at Hong Kong strikes fear in port operators’ minds
7 March 2005
Lloyd's List

THE single greatest fear among the established port operators in Hong Kong following the big money merry go round seen in the last few months is the threat of a price war at the world’s most expensive port.

Dubai Ports International’s purchase of CSX World Terminals for around $1.4bn gives the Middle Eastern firm holdings in container terminal 3 and 8 West, while PSA International of Singapore has spent HK$3bn (US$384.6m) to bag the shares of NWS Holdings in CT8 West. The moves have brought two new faces into what was a de facto duopoly at Kwai Chung for three decades between the Wharf-controlled Modern Terminals and Hongkong International Terminals, part of the Hutchison Port Holdings empire.

“Both CT3 and CT8 West are not exactly full,” says one well placed terminal executive, referring to the 20% utlisation rates at the former and the zero business at the latter.

“Some tempting deals might be made, which would be bad for everyone in the long run,” he adds. Last April the terminal operators, under duress following many consecutive months of negative growth, slashed fees for transhipment cargoes by 20-30%, informed sources report.

This led to a significant uptick in transhipped cargo, taking cargoes away from the midstreamers and the river trade terminal, though of course, this is not the revenue-generating business model any operator in the high cost environment of Hong Kong would want to pursue full time, as John Meredith told Lloyd’s List nearly two years ago. He said that transhipment “does not add anything of real value to a national economy” and that “any country spending money on port infrastructure with an eye on box league tables or transhipment is doing a disservice to both the country and the taxpayer”.

Ironically, these are the boxes that are providing the growth figures for Hong Kong these days as it stares down the inevitable eclipse by its rivals north of the border.
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Old March 14th, 2005, 06:04 PM   #124
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March 11, 2005
Government Press Release
2004 port cargo throughput up 6%

Total port cargo throughput in the fourth quarter of 2004 slipped 1% over a year earlier, to 54.9 million tonnes. But for 2004 as a whole, total port cargo throughput rose 6% to 220.9 million tonnes.

In the fourth quarter, inward port cargo fell 5% to 32.6 million tonnes, while outward port cargo rose 6% to 22.3 million tonnes.

Within port cargo, seaborne cargo fell 2% over a year earlier, to 38.8 million tonnes, while river cargo went up 2% to 16.1 million tonnes.

Within inward port cargo, imports dropped 11% over a year earlier to 19.7 million tonnes in the fourth quarter, while inward transhipment went up 7% to 12.9 million tonnes.

For outward port cargo, exports (including domestic exports and re-exports) recorded virtually no change, at 8.9 million tonnes, while outward transhipment rose 10% to 13.4 million tonnes.

On a seasonally adjusted quarter-to-quarter comparison, total port cargo throughput fell 2% in the fourth quarter. Inward port cargo dropped 5%, while outward port cargo rose 4%.

For 2004 as a whole, inward port cargo went up 5% to 134.9 million tonnes, while outward port cargo also rose 9% to 86 million tonnes.

Within port cargo, seaborne cargo rose 7% to 158.6 million tones and river cargo rose 6% to 62.3 million tonnes over a year earlier.

Within inward port cargo, imports fell 2% over a year earlier to 82.5 million tonnes in 2004, while inward transhipment soared 17% to 52.4 million tonnes.

Outward cargo to Thailand up 37%

For outward port cargo, exports rose 8% to 35.5 million tonnes, while outward transhipment went up 9% to 50.5 million tonnes.

Comparing the fourth quarter of 2004 with that of 2003, a double-digit increase was recorded in the tonnage of inward port cargo loaded in the United States (+17%). But double-digit falls were recorded in the tonnage of inward port cargo loaded in Taiwan (-28%), the Republic of Korea (-22%) and Indonesia (-20%).

Over the same period, double-digit surges were registered in the tonnage of outward port cargo for discharge in Thailand (+37%), Australia (+26%), Singapore (+23%), Malaysia (+18%), the United States (+17%) and Japan (+14%). But a double-digit fall was recorded in the tonnage of outward port cargo discharged in Italy (-26%).

Comparing 2004 with 2003, double-digit surges were recorded in the tonnage of inward port cargo loaded in Australia (+29%), Malaysia (+19%), Singapore (+17%) and the United States (+17%). At the same time, double-digit increases were registered in the tonnage of outward port cargo for discharge in Australia (+39%), Singapore (+26%), Thailand (+21%), Malaysia (+18%) and the United States (+11%).

Q4 container handling up 4%

In the fourth quarter, the port of Hong Kong handled 5.6 million TEUs of containers, representing a rise of 4% over a year earlier.

Within this total, laden containers rose 3% to 4.5 million TEUs, while empty containers went up 11% to 1.1 million TEUs. Among laden containers, inward containers went up 2% to 2.1 million TEUs while outward containers rose 3% to 2.4 million TEUs.

For 2004 as a whole, the port of Hong Kong handled 22 million TEUs of containers, representing a rise of 8% over 2003.

Within this total, laden containers rose 8% to 17.9 million TEUs, while empty containers went up 5% to 4.1 million TEUs. Among laden containers, inward containers rose 11% to 8.5 million TEUs while outward containers rose 5% to 9.4 million TEUs.

47,850 river vessel arrivals in Q4

In the fourth quarter, the number of ocean vessel arrivals went up 1% on a year earlier to 9,380 with the total capacity falling 1% to 77.3 million net registered tons. Over the same period, the number of river vessel arrivals recorded virtually no change, at 47,850, with the total capacity increasing 3% to 23.2 million net registered tons.

In 2004, there were 35,900 ocean vessel arrivals, representing virtually no change from 2003, while river vessel arrivals rose 4%, to 189,530.

The total capacity of ocean vessels rose 2% to 307.7 million net registered tons and river vessels rose 11% to 85.7 million net registered tons.
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Old March 16th, 2005, 05:01 PM   #125
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Forging through logistics initiatives


Jan / Feb 2005

Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Labour (Economic Development), Raymond Fan, who also holds the portfolios of Secretary of the Logistics Development Council, Port Development Council and Marine Industry Council, says 2004 has been a very useful year. "We continued the follow-up work on the initiatives that were laid down to develop Hong Kong as the preferred regional hub for logistics."

While certain initiatives agreed upon a couple of years ago are just about to come online in 05, Fan says, "We have been prudent and thorough, taking into account everyone's opinion, resulting in our work being open and transparent. We place a lot of emphasis on openness, transparency and industry consensus."

The Hong Kong port's results, by the first 11 months of 04, had already reached the level for the whole year's projection. "We will achieve reasonable growth for 04, breaking another record as we reach an estimated 22mn TEU throughput despite the rapid growth of neighbouring ports. Hong Kong continues to maintain a big enough slice of the cargo pie and our initiatives ensure that, together with the other ports in the region, we're in a win-win situation," said Fan.

The LOGSCOUNCIL (www.logisticshk.gov.hk) has been geared to maintain the industry's competitiveness by showing all that we offer a premium service, albeit at a higher price, which people appreciate for its good quality, reliability and efficiency.

The work of the LOGSCOUNCIL is supported by five Project Groups. The P-Group handles the area of infrastructure. "A very important issue that has always been top of the P-Group's agenda is how to facilitate cross boundary crossing, through infrastructure support, and in how we effect new measures to improve the flow. Last year, a report brought out by the Better Hong Kong Foundation, the McKinsey Report, pointed out that the trucking or land transportation cost is a major factor hindering Hong Kong's competitiveness causing a cost differential of US$200 per FEU to ship a container through Hong Kong if trucked from the factories, and another US$100 difference on the THC paid here compared to that in Shenzhen ports."

The report pointed out that, in fact, the cost differential can be tackled in many ways but the most important thing is that there are some administrative arrangements being imposed on the Mainland side of the boundary - the four-up-four-down, the one-driver one-truck, the licensing scheme - that are contributing to the higher costs of land transportation for cargo going through the Hong Kong port.

"We have been working hard to try and relax these rules. The Hong Kong Guangdong Cooperation Joint Conference is working on it. A result such as allowing "4-up 2-down" (relaxing the strict 4-up 4-down rule) would be something of a breakthrough already. Operators are now actually able to leave the container and trailer in China and pick up a new load for return to Hong Kong. This would mean the possibility of multiple trips per day and drive down costs."

Another P-Group infrastructure focus is the bridges, such as the Lok Ma Chau pure cargo bridge and the co-location of Customs and immigration, and the HK - Shenzhen Western corridor which will be opened by the middle of 2006. "And then of course we are waiting to hear what will happen to the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge." A feasibility study is being done by the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau.

"The P-Group is also looking at the Lantau Logistic Park, formerly called the Value Added Logistic Park, which is part of the Lantau Development Concept plan. In the beginning of 04, the Chief Executive, Mr. Tung, in his Policy Address, said a task force would coordinate the development of Lantau," explained Fan.

"The Lantau Logistics Park (LLP) is one of the priority projects of the Lantau plan. Preliminary work is being conducted at the moment, calling for Expressions of Interest so people can let us know their opinions on the project, which will end Feb 28."

A second LOGSCOUNCIL project group, the E-Group's main focus is on the Digital Trade and Transportation Network (DTTN). "We have been working with Tradelink, a service provider, to come up with a system in accordance with the guiding principles contained in the original Accenture report which consultants prepared for us on how to build a Digital Trade and Transportation Network," said Fan.

"We are at a very advanced stage of discussions with Tradelink, with a view on concluding some legal agreements on operations of the DTTN. It is our aim, and we are confident, that the DTTN will be launched within the year."

Fan said the E-Group has always been forward looking. "We have been exploring the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), which has been developing rapidly in the past year, stemming from Wal-Mart - the big US retail chain's adoption of the technology. RFID has very extensive applications throughout the supply chain. The E-Group has been monitoring the developments and its possible applications in logistics management. We're always on the lookout for opportunities to improve the electronic environment for logistics practitioners."

The S-Group that deals with small and medium enterprises which make up the majority of Hong Kong logistics service companies, has been designing tailor-made training for SMEs, industry updating seminars to practitioners, including RFID and CEPA." Almost half of those who have applied for and received the HK Service Supplier Certificate, are from the logistics industry. The Industry has been actively taking advantage of the benefits of CEPA," said Fan.

The H-Group focuses on enhancing the quality of human resources and promoting professionalism in the logistics industry. Roadshows have been organised for senior secondary and activities for tertiary logistics students. Roundtable discussions encourage practitioners to facilitate professional exchanges.

"The M-Group or marketing group's major initiative in 2004 was Logistics Hong Kong which attracted more than 2,000 participants from around the world. In 2005, we will be looking at something beyond Hong Kong. We have new plans and a new Shepherd for the M-Logistics Group," said Fan. With the return to London of Swire Chairman James Hughes-Hallett, the Shepherd of the H-Logistics Group, Willy Lin, will fill his seat. Meanwhile, Victor Mok, Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Freight Forwarding and Logistics Ltd is the new Shepherd of the H-Group. "We will be consolidating our M-Group promotions this year. We had Logistics Hong Kong last year which was a local one, and whose aim was to bring attention to the strengths of Hong Kong and its competitiveness as it continues to be the preferred logistics hub. So we want to bring the message more internationally and possibly organise roadshows, particularly as other logistics centres in the region are also doing promotions out there. We want to let them know that Hong Kong continues to provide premium services at a competitive price," said Fan.

Port development

The Port Development Council has been working on the Hong Kong Port Master Plan 2020, which is a study into the further development of the port up to the year 2020. "A lot of people thought the study is focussed on building new terminals. In fact, it deals with what we should do now, and in the short, medium and long term. One important finding of the study which happened to be similar to the findings of the McKinsey Report, is that trucking cost is something we must tackle now.

"It is called 'Super Connectivity Initiative'. Since practically all the cargo we handle comes from the Mainland, we should find ways to ensure it continues to pass through Hong Kong. One important measure is to cut down trucking costs which we mentioned earlier. Another is to enhance productivity at the terminals we now have in existence, that is, CT 1 to 9. We have 24 berths that can handle up to 18mn TEU, but Kwai Chung at present handles between 12 to 13mn only. So there is spare capacity that should be utilised. We focus now on how to enhance productivity and ensure continued growth with the present facilities. But in the meantime, we should also start planning for CT 10 because no matter what we do, one day, we will use up all available capacity. In the study's projection, we'll probably need more berths by 2015," explains Fan.

"And we also need to update the way we do our cargo forecast. In the old days, the Port Cargo Forecast was quite straightforward as it only looked at the demand side. There was only one factor to the supply side, and that was Hong Kong! Ten or 15 years ago, we were the only major port in the area and whatever demand there was, was solely on Hong Kong," said Fan.

"The supply side has become much more complex as the terminals and ports in the region begun to develop, such as Yantian, Chiwan, Mawan, Shekou and other ports surrounding us. So with such an expanded supply side, we would need a new methodology. Questions arise such as where do we build future container terminals? The report pinpointed two possibilities, one in Tsing Yi area, right next to the existing one or Northwest Lantau. But the site in Lantau has an ecological impact so we must again do investigations, and at the end of the process, we would know which site is viable. That would be a decade down the road.

"But in the next few years, we need to know exactly when new capacity - from the Mainland side - would be coming online. For Hong Kong, we know exactly how much capacity there is up to CT 9, then we have river trade and mid-stream. The supply side becomes more complex as we not only have to focus on quantity but on quality - we must know if the new terminals would focus say, purely on handling bulk, or on intra-Asia cargo.

"Ultimately, we would form one synergy to produce a win-win situation for us all. So it must be done right because as you know building terminals takes years and involves a lot of money. So the decision to build more terminals must be done at the right time hence we must be very thorough in the planning and execution," said Fan. "We have already consulted and briefed the Maritime Industry Council, the PDC and the LOGSCOUNCIL on the findings of the Port Master Plan 2020. We also have been to the Economic Services Panel of Legco, and the Town Planning Board."
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Old March 16th, 2005, 05:48 PM   #126
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8 March 2005 Corporate Press Release
Modern Terminals Holds Milestone Ceremony to Celebrate its Handling of 50 Millionth Container

Container terminal operator Modern Terminals today (Tuesday) hosted a quayside ceremony at Kwai Chung to celebrate the milestone of the 50 millionth TEU passing through its facilities in the 33rd year since it opened Hong Kong’s first-ever purpose-built container terminal in 1972.

The Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr. Stephen Ip, G.B.S., JP, was the officiating guest of honour and keynote speaker at the event. Around 100 guests representing the company’s major customers and business associates, as well as Government officials and members of the media also attended.

In his speech, Mr. Ip commented: “Way back in 1972, Modern Terminals invested and operated the first purpose-built container terminal in Hong Kong. Since then, Modern Terminals has been playing an important role in the development of the Hong Kong port. I understand that Modern Terminals is investing over HK$1 billion on upgrading its terminal facilities, which will further increase its handling capacity.”

Mr. Erik Bøgh Christensen, Modern Terminals’ Managing Director told the gathering that the company was very proud to welcome its 50 millionth container at its terminal facilities in Hong Kong. “This milestone event takes place at a significant time in our company's history. As an integral part of our commitment to continue to grow with our customers, we have recently brought all our 4 new Berths at Container Terminal 9 (South) into full operation.

“In addition, we have launched a project to upgrade every aspect of our facilities at Container Terminals 1, 2 and 5 (CT125). The implementation of this project will take around 18 months and involve a total investment of more than HK$1 billion. Our objective is to boost our total throughput capacity by up to 25 per cent, in order to meet current and future customer requirements. The project will also support the recommendation of the Government-commissioned Hong Kong Port Master Plan 2020, which is to improve existing operations at Kwai Chung Port before constructing additional terminals. Through the industry combined efforts, the total throughput capacity of Kwai Chung container port is set to rise to 24 million TEUs a year,” he said.

Modern Terminals will continue to develop and provide more value-added customer services to improve the flow of cargo between Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta – such as the Inland Gate network of dedicated feeder services and the company’s advocacy of more efficient cross-boundary trucking arrangements. The company is also actively expanding its operations in Mainland China.

In addition, Modern Terminals is proactively contributing to the enhancement of security standards in the global container-transportation industry. In this respect, the company is collaborating with other Kwai Chung terminal operators in embarking on a high-technology pilot project for integrated container inspection, screening every container that arrives at its entry gate and quayside barge facility.

“As Modern Terminals starts handling the next 50 million containers, its goal will remain the same: to grow with our customers, offering industry-best services, and to be their preferred partner,” he concluded.

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Old March 19th, 2005, 06:01 PM   #127
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HK sea container traffic up 2.6 pct in February

HONG KONG, March 16 (Reuters) - Sea container traffic through Hong Kong, the world's busiest container port, rose 2.6 percent in February from a year earlier, and throughput at its main facilities in Kwai Chung surged 18.9 percent after price cuts.

Hong Kong moved a total of 1.58 million 20-foot equivalent units (TEU) of goods last month, and terminals at Kwai Chung, which accounted for more than 60 percent of the city's total throughput, handled 998,000 TEU in February, data from the Port Development Council showed on Wednesday.

The more efficient Kwai Chung facilities continued to lure customers away from the river trade terminal and mid-stream operators following price cuts in the past few months on hopes to attract business to fill their new berths in container terminal nine, analysts said.

Goods moved by the river trade terminal and mid-stream operators fell by 16.9 percent in February to 583,000 TEU, the data showed.

In recent years, Hong Kong has continued to lose market share to the neighbouring Chinese city of Shenzhen, where exporters can ship their goods at prices that are about one-third less than they are charged in Hong Kong.

Shanghai, the busiest container port in the mainland, is also growing at a fast pace. It handled 1.11 million TEU of goods in February, up 18.3 percent from the same month last year.
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Old March 26th, 2005, 03:59 AM   #128
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Hong Kong shipping in budget boon
By Sam Chambers in Hong Kong
18 March 2005
Lloyd's List

HONG Kong’s maritime community received a surprise welcome boost at the first budget to be unveiled since Tung Chee-hwa resigned last week.

Henry Tang, Financial Secretary for the Special Administrative Region, said: “To consolidate our position as an international port as well as a shipping and logistics hub, we must promote our strengths and the latest developments in these areas in the mainland and overseas markets.”

Consequently, he proposed giving the Logistics Development Council and the Maritime Industry Council HK$5m ($640,972) each “to enhance the marketing of our port, shipping and logistics facilities”.
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Old March 28th, 2005, 11:28 PM   #129
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Terminal blow as ruling against sea trade is upheld
Russell Barling
19 March 2005
South China Morning Post

The beleaguered River Trade Terminal (RTT) has been dealt what eventually may be a knockout blow as the Court of Final Appeal upheld a judgment barring it from serving ships that carry trade outside the Pearl River Delta region.

While the unanimous judgment of the five-member panel yesterday may slash the facility's revenue potential by as much as 50 per cent, it is sure to be warmly received by the main terminal operators at Kwai Chung, where business volumes will grow.

None of the terminal's shareholders - Jardine Matheson Holdings, Hutchison Whampoa or Sun Hung Kai Properties - would comment, other than to say they needed time to study the verdict.

The terminal last year handled about 2.6 million containers, 900,000 of which were from deep-sea vessels and in contravention of its 1996 land grant, according to yesterday's decision.

The $6.5 billion terminal has lost more than $1 billion since its launch in 1998 and has never turned a profit.

At all three trials - including ones in the Court of First Instance and the Court of Appeal - the case hinged on the interpretation of special condition 16 (SC16) in the grant, part of which reads: "[The RTT] shall not be used for any other purpose than as a terminal for {hellip} the berthing of vessels regularly employed in trading or going with the Pearl River region."

Dennis Chang Kin-lai, senior counsel for the RTT, argued that by entering the port of Hong Kong, any vessel therefore qualified.

"The paramount intention of [SC16] is to define what type of trade may be served, not what type of vessel," Mr Chang argued at the trial, which wrapped up two weeks ago. "It is not just a river vessels terminal; it is a river trade terminal."

He said that SC16 was not intended to impose restrictions on the type of vessel the terminal could serve. That was already fixed by the terminal's physical limitations; it was designed with nine metres of water at its berths, a depth suitable only for smaller vessels.

He said that SC16 restricted the terminal only from handling vessels that had never called in Hong Kong - thereby not fitting the definition of "regularly" - and those that called solely to transfer cargo bound for outside the delta.

But in the court's judgment, Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro found that argument unconvincing.

He said: "If [Mr Chang's interpretation] suffices to qualify a vessel for berthing, and if it is a matter of indifference where that vessel came from or where she is going to call next, then virtually any vessel qualifies."
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Old April 1st, 2005, 04:37 PM   #130
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Future in doubt for Hong Kong River Trade Terminal
31 March 2005
Lloyd's List

HONG Kong’s River Trade Terminal is facing an uncertain future after losing a court case that now officially bans the HK$6.5bn (US$833m) facility from handling ocean-going ships, writes Keith Wallis.

About 30% of the 2.6m teu handled by the terminal last year was from liner services, especially those operated by intra-Asian shipping lines.

The RTT Company had tried to overturn an earlier court ruling, which decided the company could only handle containers and freight from coasters operating in the Pearl River delta region.

But a five member panel at the Court of Final Appeal upheld the earlier court’s decision and rejected the RTT’s claim it could handle any ships with cargo coming from or destined for the Pearl River region.

Mr Justice Roberto Ribeiro said that if this was true “and if it is a matter of indifference where that vessel came from or where she is going to call next, then virtually any vessel qualifies”.

The ruling upholds the government’s position that the RTT Company, which is owned by Hutchison Whampoa, Sun Hung Kai Properties and Jardine Matheson, broke the conditions of its 1996 land lease by handling ocean-going ships, and ends a three year legal wrangle.

The decision could spell closure or major changes at the 49 berth facility, which has yet to make a profit, while running up HK$1bn in losses, despite being fully operational since 1998.

The complex was purpose-built at Tuen Mun in Hong Kong’s north-west New Territories to handle river trade vessels and barges plying between the Kwai Chung terminals and ports in the Pearl River delta.

Former RTT Company general manager John Wan forecast the terminal would need to handle 3m teu to be profitable. The court decision means the facility will lose at least 900,000 teu that is now directly handled by intra-Asian vessels.

Consequently, losses are likely to mount, a situation that is expected to put shareholders under pressure to pull out or buy out the other investors.

This could pit Hutchison Whampoa against Sun Hung Kai Properties, which was advised by a former Hong Kong Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark.

Insiders pointed out that it was originally the mid-stream stevedoring barge association, which was fronted by a Hutchison Whampoa executive, that complained to the government about the RTT’s activities and led directly to the court case.

Sources believe the move was part of a wider corporate ploy by Hutchison Whampoa and Sun Hung Kai to wrestle control of the complex from the other.
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Old April 3rd, 2005, 03:00 AM   #131
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Modern Terminals brings aid to Wharf
21 March 2005
Lloyd's List

MODERN Terminals, the oldest Hong Kong Kwai Chung terminal operator, helped controlling shareholder Wharf (Holdings) post a 24% increase in net profit to HK$3.77bn (US$483.3m) last year on a 6% rise in turnover to HK$11.95bn, writes Keith Wallis.Modern Terminals’ net profit contribution “grew satisfactory” last year as a result of a significantly higher profit contribution from its terminal investments in China coupled with lower charges for profits and deferred tax, Wharf said.

Modern Terminals, which began operating at Kwai Chung in 1972, operates four terminals. Wharf has a 55.3% stake in the company.

Overall, Wharf's logistics operations posted a slight 1% rise in operating profits to HK$1.84bn last year, compared with nearly HK$1.83bn in 2003.

Turnover rose 4% to almost HK$3.45bn against HK$3.22bn a year before. But Modern Terminals’ contribution to operating profits was marginally less than in 2003 after it slipped to HK$1.72bn in 2004, down from HK$1.74bn a year earlier. This was despite an increase in turnover to HK$2.96bn, up from HK$2.87bn in 2003.

Wharf’s other logistics interests, which include the V-Logic warehousing and transport operation, put in a stronger performance, contributing HK$125m in operating profits in 2004, up from HK$92m in 2003. Turnover was up, to HK$383m, against HK$353m a year earlier.

Wharf said throughput at Modern Terminals’ facilities in Hong Kong and China rose 9% but “the company’s total revenue grew by 3% only, given that the throughput growth was largely driven by lower-tariff feeder and transhipment volume”.

Release of the figures came as Modern Terminals is set to receive the official go-ahead for the Yuan7bn (US$854m) first phase of its Dachen Bay container terminal project on the west coast of Shenzhen, near Hong Kong.
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Old April 4th, 2005, 07:07 PM   #132
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A more fragrant harbour
24 March 2005
Lloyd's List

Hong Kong’s shipping community is quietly optimistic at the recent turn of political events. Ironically, having a former shipping magnate as the first leader of the Special Administrative Region has widely been perceived to be bad for the maritime industries in the city that can still boast the number one container port ranking.

Under Tung Chee-hwa, maritime policies were generally not favourable and were thwrted by a lack of long-term vision. The shipping industry was crying out for help as the rise of China threatened its middle man status, yet aid and direction was generally not forthcoming.

Mr Tung had warned shipowners before acceding to power that he was not going to be in a position to help them for fear of bias accusations. Now that the former Orient Overseas Container Line man has resigned, ironically just 15 minutes after his brother announced record results for the family shipping line, there is a creeping feeling that a new administration under the bow-tied Donald Tsang, the only knight of the realm ever to take charge of a communist territory, will see a more proactive stance in evidence.

The first budget since Tung Chee-hwa left office announced HK$5m (US$640,000) each to the Port Industry Council and the Maritime Industry Council for marketing purposes — a small but significant step in the right direction.

On the port side there is much regulatory work that the new government must tackle to ensure that containers continue to pass by in large numbers. Most notably, resolving the myriad trucking issues that account for the two thirds difference in costs between neighbouring Shenzhen and Hong Kong — an issue that, despite repeated pleas, has never been properly tackled and one that will require much negotiation with the local government north of the border.

Mr Tsang is known to be a big advocate of Kwai Chung Container Terminals, the mainstay of the city’s throughput, having taken mainland leaders up in a helicopter a couple of years back to show off the terminals’ efficiency. If he can resolve the trucking issues he will regain the trust and friendship of the maritime fraternity in the Special Administrative Region.

If not, then many will hope he stays in power for just the two years that the territory’s Basic Law stipulates.

Tiger in the tank It is surprising what hides behind the current euphoria about freight rates in so many sectors. Problems which would ascend rapidly into crises for the industry, if the rewards were as they were for the past quarter century, don’t seem nearly so bad. The manpower problems can at least be addressed by paying rather better rates for seafarers (although this is always a last resort).

Fuel prices seem to be the most intractable, especially in a number of sectors which have been ratcheting up average speeds in recent years, as well as putting thirstier machinery in ships. There is only so much you can do to “shop around”, especially as bargain fuel so often seems to come with a hidden penalty, which may include a wrecked engine.

Similarly, the great ruses of the 1980s, most of which involved owners buying worse and worse quality dregs from refineries to feed into their engines, cannot be repeated.

Surprisingly, as it would appear that the current oil price surge is no brief temporary peak, we have been seeing few of the technical answers that previously came along.

Perhaps the advances in hydrodynamics which would shave a few percentage points of fuel costs have all been implemented. It may be that there are really no great breakthrough solutions available. Or perhaps it is that when the next rate slump comes, slow steaming will be the only option!
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Old April 5th, 2005, 03:01 AM   #133
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25 March 2005
Modern Terminals Appoints New CEO



After almost eight years as Managing Director and CEO of Modern Terminals, Mr. Erik Bøgh Christensen has decided to step down and – after more than 25 years in Hong Kong – prepare for return to his native Denmark.

The Board of Directors has appointed the Company’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Sean Kelly as Managing Director and new CEO of the Company. Mr. Kelly, formerly a senior shipping line executive with American President Lines, has been with Modern Terminals for five-and-a-half years.

Mr. Kelly’s appointment will take effect from 1st April 2005. Mr. Christensen will continue as Senior Director of Modern Terminals and during a transition period till September 2005, he will be supporting the board and management on a full time basis on special projects including Mainland China development projects.

Commenting on the announcement, Mr. Peter K.C. Woo, Chairman of Modern Terminals said:

“Under Erik Christensen’s leadership starting in 1997, Modern Terminals has developed and grown impressively and the Company is today in excellent shape, fully prepared and capable of not only meeting future challenges but also to capitalize on the opportunities, of which there are many”.

“Sean Kelly has been with Modern Terminals for over 5 years and as Deputy Managing Director he has made a significant contribution to the excellent market position which the Company now enjoys. The appointment of Sean Kelly, is ensuring senior management continuity and under his leadership I am confident that Modern Terminals business will continue to grow”.
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Old April 5th, 2005, 07:47 PM   #134
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Valuing Hong Kong
BY IAN PUTZGER
5 April 2005
Air Cargo World

Just a few years ago, visitors coming into Hong Kong would head straight to the tailors in Kowloon for for cut-price suits or the Temple Street night market for counterfeit designer labels. Today, there are still plenty of fake Rolexes available for $10 in some spots in the territory, but the real bargain hunters have moved north into China.

They have followed the same path as Hong Kong manufacturers, who set up shop across the border as costs on their home turf became prohibitive.

Today, some of the former manufacturing areas in Hong Kong are stacked with ocean containers filled with products made in China and waiting for ships to take them to overseas destinations. But ports and airports in China also have boosted capacity, raising question of whether Hong Kong's storied transport and logistics business - what many consider the life's blood of the city - could go the same way as the bargain hunters and the manufacturers.

The opening of Guangzho Baiyun International Airport last summer has added fuel to concerns that Hong Kong's high costs could hurt its air freight growth. Although some initiatives are underway to curb costs, the emphasis is on service levels.

In the maritime sector, the transshipment business - a long-standing cornerstone of activity in the territory's port - is showing signs of slowdown, pointed out David Oldridge, chief executive of Tradeport Hong Kong. Still, more sophisticated logistics activities should flourish in the territory, he says. "Cost is always an important issue, but the value proposition is what we have to focus on," said Oldridge. "The 3PL contracts are very much decided by the correct value proposition."

Better value has turned into something of a mantra in Hong Kong. "The evidence is that cargo will move through the hub that provides the best value proposition, in terms of service levels, cut-off times, protection against pilferage, loss and so on," said Ron Mathison, director and general manager of cargo of Cathay Pacific.

A study commissioned by DHL and conducted by the Center of Cyber Logistics of Hong Kong's Chinese University takes the same line.

It identifies the airport's unrivaled connectivity and high transparency and efficiency as key strengths of the territory and advocates investment in specialized logistics centers, especially for material handling and component distribution.

This is right in the sweet spot for Oldridge, whose outfit, a joint venture by Fraport and Amsterdam Schiphol, performs value-added services at Hong Kong International Airport.

In a notoriously overcrowded place, the large, open-plan Tradeport building is an oddity, but it's both on target and on budget, despite many misgivings from observers and forwarders, Oldridge insisted. By the end of last year, the facility was 50 percent full, and he expects a significant increase in use this year. By 2006 or 2007, he anticipates building a second level to cope with rising demand. Further down the road, Oldridge is thinking of taking up some space off airport. A likely target is a 185-acre logistics park planned near Chek Lap Kok.

Hong Kong's air cargo market has taken some time to get used to the concept of modern-day logistics.

After all, the old Kai Tak airport, which shut down in 1998, had no space for such activities, notes David Miller, managing director of Trinity Aviation and the representative of Fraport for the region.

Despite all the talk of moving up the logistics food chain, the strongest argument in favor of Hong Kong versus the upstart competition across the border has been its plethora of air links with other points on the planet. That makes it a natural magnet for airlines and logistics companies and the government of China's " Special Administrative Region" has been eager to keep it that way.

"The government wants to sell the airport, go for an IPO, so it's in their interest to make the airport busy," said Alfred Chui, cargo sales and service manager for Hong Kong of Air Canada.

But the cost question remains a thorn in HKIA's side.

According to the DHL study, terminal handling charges at the airport averaged US$144 for a five-ton shipment last year versus $45 at Baiyun.

"No question, China is cheaper. It's definitely an issue," said Andrew Jillings, vice president for Northeast Asia at BAX Global.

But to some extent, cost comparisons between HKIA and Chinese airports are warped. Operators say privately that there are a certain amount of invisible costs associated with doing business in China.

Last July, Hong Kong authorities signaled their discomfort over the cost issue when they announced a 50 percent rebate on landing charges to airlines for the first year on flights they operate to a new destination, and a 25 percent rebate in the second year.

On the cargo side, new measures are coming up to maintain Hong Kong's attractiveness to exports from the Pearl River Delta. Customs clearance is speeded up further through the creation of the new Shenzhen Western Corridor, and rules on truck and trailer movements that effectively limited them to one cross-border trip a day are being jettisoned.

Under the Close Economic Partnership Agreement that kicked in last year, cargo agents based in Hong Kong or Macau are allowed to establish wholly-owned offices in locations in China, including the major hubs like Shanghai or Beijing.

Much is riding on the back of a trucking service that CLK's dominant handler, HACTL, has established. It has set up drop stations in several locations and runs regular trucks to over 20 cities in the Pearl River Delta.

That operation has proved very attractive to logistics firms, says Jillings.

For 2004, HACTL recorded a throughput of 3.1 million tonnes, up 17 percent from the previous year. Rival handler Asia Airfreight Terminals, whose shareholders include Singapore Airport Terminal Services and FedEx, announced last summer that it would invest US$224.3 million to build a terminal in a bid to triple its air cargo capacity.

The new terminal, covering a floor area of 423,000 square feet, will have an annual cargo capacity of 910,000 tonnes when construction is completed by the end of 2006.

Last year also produced record cargo results for Hong Kong-based carriers Cathay Pacific and Dragonair, with the promise of more to come.

Dragonair clocked up 342,413 tonnes, 26.8 percent more than in 2003. Cathay carried over 970,000 tonnes, 11 percent rise from the previous year.

Both airlines are boosting their main deck capacity.

Dragonair, which added a 747-200 freighter and a wet-leased A300 freighter last year, acquired five 747-400s from Singapore Airlines, which will be converted into all-cargo configuration. The first two are slated to enter service in 2006, with two more to follow in 2007 and the last one the following year.

Cathay took delivery of a new 747-400 freighter in January, bringing its 747 freighter tally to six -400 and seven -200 editions of the aircraft. The carrier is the launch customer for Boeing's 747-400 conversion program, with the first revamped freighter due this coming December. Cathay has signed up for six 747-400SFs, with options for six more conversion slots.

Mathison has no intention of phasing out the -200 models when the newer freighters come in. "We plan to keep flying the -200s as long as possible. At this stage, there are no plans to replace our -200 fleet," he said.

In August, Cathay will launch freighter flights to Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta.

It will serve the two cities in tandem with three 747 freighter flights per week, bringing trans-Pacific freighter operations to 21 a week. These cities mark new destinations for the airline.

Overall, Cathay prefers to strengthen frequency on existing routes rather than add new points. But Mathison is using a broader all-cargo network to combat imbalances in traffic flows, which have become more pronounced.

"We try to be as close as possible to cargo coming out of regions with imbalanced flows. For example, in Europe, we serve many points rather than one or two hubs. In a similar vein, we plan to fly to Dallas/Fort Worth and Atlanta instead of moving all freighters through Los Angeles," he said.
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Old April 20th, 2005, 12:16 AM   #135
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Friday April 15, 6:23 PM
Hong Kong Port's Container Traffic Fell 7.2% In March

HONG KONG (Dow Jones)--Container shipping traffic through Hong Kong fell 7.2% on year in March, the government said Friday, reflecting a slowdown from the previous month, when traffic rose 2.6%.

A total of 1.8 million twenty-foot equivalent units, or TEUs, passed through the container terminals and other cargo-handling facilities of the world's busiest port in MArch, according to preliminary estimates from the Port Development Council.

The Kwai Chung container terminals, which handle most of Hong Kong's traffic, registered a 6.1% on-year increase in throughput to 1.1 million TEUs.

Throughput of other cargo-handling facilities, such as private wharves and anchorages, fell 23% to 690,000 TEUs in the same period.

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., a unit of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. (0013.HK); CSX World Terminals Hong Kong Ltd.; COSCO-HIT Terminals Ltd., a joint venture between COSCO Pacific Ltd. (1199.HK) and HIT; and Asia Container Terminals Ltd.
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Old April 25th, 2005, 03:22 PM   #136
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Logistics hub at Yuen Long Industrial Park


Raymond Fan (left), Dep Secretary for Economic Development & Labour Bureau, Joseph Leung, CEO & Chairman of Dispatch Services Logistics Air Ltd, C D Tam, CEO of Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation at the ground-breaking ceremony of logistics hub at Yuen Long Industrial Park last month.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) and Dispatch Services Logistics Air Limited (DSLAL) global logistics services provider have signed an agreement for DSLAL to acquire land at the Yuen Long Industrial Park to establish a major logistics and distribution centre. DSLAL's planned Yuen Long Logistics Centre will occupy 24,385 sqm of land and will be completed in two phases over the next four years.

The HK Yuen Long Logistics Centre will be DSLAL's largest project to date, with an estimated total investment of HK$211mn to construct the facility and install new machinery and equipment.

Upon completion, the advanced nine-storey logistics centre will become the largest facility in Hong Kong to implement an RFID (radio frequency identification) system. From the Yuen Long Logistics Centre, DSLAL plans to provide high value-added services for customers including, laboratory and inspection services, electronic product code labelling, repackaging services, commercial documents origin verification and customs/brokers clearances services. In addition, DSLAL will offer professional training courses at the centre.

"We are proud to say that the centre in Yuen Long will be the first of its kind in Hong Kong with such an advanced system and building structure," said Joseph Leung, CEO & Chairman of DSLAL. "Hong Kong is a key logistics centre for Greater China with our massive port facilities and modern airport. DSLAL chose the Yuen Long Industrial Park as the site for our new facility to support the continued growth of Hong Kong as a regional and global distribution and logistics hub for its proximity to key infrastructures and the Mainland."

The initial phase of the Logistics Centre will consist of 28,000 sqm of gross floor area and will be made of a modern steel structure with a ceiling over 60 ft high. An automated storage/retrieval system (AS/RS), as part of the overall warehouse management system, will enable the warehouse to handle over 30,000 pallets in only 7,500 sqm of floor space. The AS/RS system will be enhanced with RFID and GPS (global positioning system) technologies that will allow up-to-the-minute inventory record accuracy, fast searching for goods' locations, accurate product identification and global tracking capabilities. Phase 2 will bring the gross floor area to 60,000 sqm.

"HKSTP's goal is to transform Yuen Long into a location for high value-added services and facilities to support the logistics market in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. With our world-class communications network, excellent transportation infrastructure and geographically strategic location, Hong Kong should achieve rapid market leadership in this area," stated CD Tam, CEO of HKSTP. "DSLAL is a globally recognised leader in the industry and as such is an excellent anchor tenant for the Yuen Long logistics hub."

Supporting the drive to enhance Hong Kong's logistics capabilities, HKSTP has designated the Yuen Long Industrial Park to be a key location based on its geographic position. It is only 12 kilometres from the Lok Ma Chau border checkpoint and is connected to the Kwai Chung container terminals by Route 3 and the Tuen Mun Highway.

DSLAL provides customers in the garment, medical, electronics, automotive, construction materials and printing industries with air, ocean and general freight services including customs and overall freight management along with forwarding, warehousing and distribution services. Headquartered in Hong Kong, DSLAL also has subsidiaries in Los Angeles, Shenzhen, Qingdao, Shanghai and works with partners located on every continent.

Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation (HKSTP) is a statutory body set up by the Government of the Hong Kong SAR. More information about HKSTP is available at www.hkstp.org.
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Old April 28th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #137
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Port operators want security fees - Terminal operators want security fees
Russell Barling
26 April 2005
South China Morning Post

Container terminal operators are determined to impose cargo security fees from next month despite a rejection of the levy in south China by many of the same shipping lines that use Hong Kong.

From Sunday, operators at Kwai Chung will charge $50 a laden box for all direct shipments outside Asia as they look to recover additional infrastructure and labour costs related to United States-led security initiatives against terrorism.

"We will proceed as scheduled even though discussions [with the lines are continuing]," a port executive said. "They may end up being small concessions but it won't be much, perhaps something like a two-month deferral [of payment] to give the lines more time."

A levy of 50 yuan from March 1 for all boxes except relay cargo and empties was rejected by shipping lines calling at ports in Shenzhen, with invoices returned unpaid and a demand for evidence of the terminals' security-related costs.

Like their Shenzhen counterparts, Hong Kong operators will not charge for empties or relay cargo but they want a fee of $20 per box for intra-Asia shipments.

It is thought the levy could add $1.5 billion to the cost of shipping manufactured goods from the region at a time when volume growth in Hong Kong is already stagnating. Terminal operators say the aggregate cost may be as much as 50 per cent of that total.

The port of Singapore moved more cargo than Hong Kong in the first quarter for the first time in seven years.

According to a shipping executive, Hongkong International Terminals (HIT), the port's biggest operator, said its one-off security-related costs had reached $200 million and it expected its related recurring annual outlay to be as much as $60 million.

A spokeswoman for Hutchison Whampoa, which controls HIT, declined to comment yesterday.

Hutchison fought a six-month battle with carriers and cargo owners to get a separate security fee implemented at its ports in Felixstowe and Rotterdam last year.

In England, it threatened to reject shipments from lines that refused to pay, according to carriers.

"In the end, we all caved in. Hutchison has an effective monopoly in the UK," said an executive with an Asian shipping line. "If they try that here, we'll just move over to DPI (the new Dubai Ports International-owned terminals)."

The two berths at Container Terminals 8 West now run by DPI , have been idle for more than a year.

It is understood that terminal operators are working to convince large shipping lines to accept the charge in the belief that others will then fall in line.

With only five days left before the implementation date, another port executive said he believed the deadline might pass without invoices being sent out, but that carriers were warming to the idea.

"We've showed them our capital costs and our running costs going forward," he said. "The strict timing is less important than the fact that we are making progress."
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Old April 28th, 2005, 10:26 PM   #138
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SAR snubbed as mainland ports thrive
Vanson Soo, Hong Kong Standard
April 29, 2005

For years, experts have warned that cheaper mainland ports posed a grave threat to Hong Kong's status as the export hub of South China.

New trade figures suggest that the territory's competitive position may be eroding even faster than many people expected.

Hong Kong's total merchandise exports grew just 3.5 percent in March from year-ago levels, to HK$168.7 billion, according to the Census and Statistic Department. That's way below the 13.4 percent growth projected by eight economists surveyed by Reuters.

Hong Kong's re-exports grew 4.9 percent in March, to HK$160.6 billion, while domestic exports decreased by 17.2 percent to HK$8 billion. The value of imports grew 2.5 percent year-on-year in March, to HK$182.5 billion, far below analysts' expectations of 10 percent.

What's most troubling is that most of the goods shipped through Hong Kong originate in, or are headed for, the mainland - and China's exports and imports continue to surge.

The increasing divergence in exports between Hong Kong and China is troubling, says Standard Chartered economist Tai Hui: The territory's exports, 94 percent of which are re-exports, grew 15.8 percent in 2003 and 15.9 percent in 2004, while China's exports surged about 35 percent a year in that period.

"China is exporting more directly to the rest of the world and not going through Hong Kong," said Hui. "Competition between Shenzhen and Hong Kong is quite intense."

Ports in the Pearl River Delta pose mounting threats to Hong Kong, says Trade Development Council deputy chief economist Daniel Poon, with Shenzhen's Yantian port the most significant rival.

In the first quarter of this year, Shenzhen's outward container throughput grew 20 percent, outpacing the 13 percent growth in Kwai Chung, Hong Kong's container port. Though the disparity was even greater last year - Shenzhen grew 31 percent while Kwai Chung gained 11.5 percent - that reflected capacity constraints in the neighboring special administrative region, not lack of demand from mainland shippers. Since Shenzhen's ports continue to add capacity, Poon said, the growth gap will widen again.

One bright spot is Hong Kong's airport, one of the world's largest freight handlers. Airfreight tonnage grew 8.2 percent in March, though that was down from the 10.3 percent growth recorded in the first two months of this year.

"Hong Kong's airport is much ahead of those in China in terms of efficiency and traffic volume so our advantage is still here for this area," said Core Pacific-Yamaichi senior economist Kent Yau. "However, the mainland's seaports are doing so well now they are poised to take over the sea-going portion of goods trade for the mainland."
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 04:19 AM   #139
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Changing structure of a Hong Kong economic pillar
As more gateways open to the mainland, Hong Kong's logistics industry is investing heavily to stay an international hub

23 April 2005
South China Morning Post

AS THE FAMED "gateway to China", Hong Kong's success was largely built on its historic role as the mainland's trading and shipping hub.

By a fortunate twist of fate, goods from the mainland were for decades routed through Hong Kong, creating the foundations for what is now the world's busiest container port and, in cargo terms, the second busiest airport. Not surprisingly, the modern logistics industry is hailed as one of the "four pillars" of the local economy.

However, many more gateways have opened in recent years, with the Pearl River Delta emerging as the "world's factory" and the mainland's membership of the WTO leading to other trading restrictions being lifted. Logistics companies have made significant investments to offer a wider range of services and move closer to the source of the cargo.

Where international air freight from South China once depended on flights from Hong Kong, there are now alternatives offered by new international airports in Guangzhou and Shenzhen, along with those in Macau and Zhuhai.

While convoys of trucks once had no option but to cross the border and ship containers from the port in Kwai Chung, they can now deliver to fast-growing ports along the South China coast, from Nansha and Shekou to Yantian and Xiamen.

Some newer terminals are seeing annual rates of growth approaching 50 per cent. In fact, ports in the Pearl River Delta now handle almost as many containers a year as all ports in the United States put together.

So, in a climate of general economic growth, it is a concern that Hong Kong is at risk of losing its edge and its historical raison d'etre.

In his last policy speech, even former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa acknowledged: "As our logistics industry faces increasingly stiff competition, we must further raise our competitiveness in order to reinforce our position as an international logistics hub."

The issues tend to come down to which logistics options are easier for exporters to use, and price. Some estimates say that shipping directly from the mainland can work out a third cheaper than moving cargo through Hong Kong, and this obviously has a big impact. Fears that Hong Kong is losing its cutting-edge were compounded by a study of cross-border trucking licences. The study showed they were as valuable and sought after as taxi licences, but were contributing to higher costs.

Whether our days as a logistics hub are numbered is a matter of perspective. In reality, the industry has simply evolved.

Just as Hong Kong's manufacturing industry migrated across the border, the same is happening with logistics providers. Dozens are setting up operations under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (Cepa) and firms such as Kerry Logistics have established distribution networks covering all the major cities. Operations are still controlled from Hong Kong - the only difference is that jobs increasingly require staff to be based in the mainland.

Likewise, tycoon Li Ka-shing's Hutchison Whampoa has invested heavily in mainland ports. Hutchison Port Holdings is now the mainland's biggest port operator with 11 terminals, and there is a degree of irony in the fact that Hong Kong enterprises largely run the Pearl River Delta ports.

Simon Galpin, associate director general of InvestHK, calls it a "great control advantage".

Despite the migration, however, Hong Kong is still the world's busiest port, so something must be going right. Again, the explanation lies in the way logistics is changing. While Shenzhen is becoming South China's low-cost hub for bulk exports, Hong Kong is focusing increasingly on the top end of the market. For example, the state-of-the-art $8 billion Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals complex sends a clear message about current capacity needs and future ambitions in the field of logistics.

South China's airports may be closer to the manufacturing base, but they have a long way to go to catch up with Hong Kong's far more extensive flight network. Significantly, landing fees and fuel are pricier over the border.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's port operators are world leaders in the efficient handling of shipments. They also stand out for their use of high technology and in providing services for refrigerated and dangerous cargoes.

The unparalleled frequency of connections to international destinations is another key advantage. According to the Marine Department, one vessel arrives or departs Hong Kong waters every couple of minutes - hardly a sign of a logistics hub under siege. With the construction of ever larger vessels to serve the major trade routes, it should not be forgotten that Hong Kong's status as an easily accessible deep-water port remains a trump card.

As for cross-border trucking, the proposed new bridge providing a link to Zhuhai and Macau is forecast to generate huge growth in container volumes for Hong Kong.

"Hong Kong has long since lost its 'gateway to China' status and is fighting to retain market share of South China exports," said Cargonews Asia editor, Greg Knowler. "The good news is that manufacturing output in the Pearl River Delta is generating ever increasing exports. While South China ports are siphoning off market share, the overall market is growing."

Hong Kong handled a record 21 million teu (20-foot equivalent units) last year - growth of 7.3 per cent, he said.

"Air freight is facing even more intense competition," he added. Nevertheless, volumes at the Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminal continued to grow, "albeit a measly 3 per cent" in the first three months of this year.

Mr Knowler said Hong Kong would "remain the obvious air freight hub choice for the foreseeable future".

Meanwhile, the government is keeping a step ahead by preparing a Digital Trade and Transport Network System to enhance competitiveness with an "e-platform" for information flow and service integration. Also being proposed is the Lantau Logistics Park, purpose-built to consolidate Hong Kong's future supremacy as a logistics hub.
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Old May 3rd, 2005, 04:27 PM   #140
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Hong Kong adopts zero-tolerance policy on single-hulled tankers
7 April 2005
Platts Commodity News

The Hong Kong government's Marine Department is strictly denying entry to all foreign vessels that do not meet the International Maritime Organization's new requirement for tankers carrying heavy grade fuel oil to be double-hulled, a department spokesman said Thursday. "Vessels carrying heavy grade that are not double-hulled will not be allowed entry into the Hong Kong port. We are not even making concessions for anyone, we don't want single-hulled vessels to be inside out port," said the spokesman. Under the IMO regulations, effective Apr 5, single-hull tankers of 20,000mt deadweight and above cannot carry heavy grade oil. The IMO has defined HGO as crudes or fuel oils having a density at 15 degrees centigrade or higher of 900 kg/cu m.

However, the Marine Department is temporarily granting exemptions to single-hulled vessels carrying HGO of 900-945 kg/cu m density that are already in the port to complete their existing contractual obligations. "This is only for a very short period of time," the spokesman stressed.
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