Magazine article Business Asia

Call for HK to Cut Costs

Magazine article Business Asia

Call for HK to Cut Costs

Article excerpt

Hong Kong is arguably the world's busiest container port but, if left unchecked, high operating costs could threaten that standing

Hong Kong port operators have been urged to reduce handling costs so the city can remain competitive as a shipping centre and maintain its reputation as the world's busiest container port.

Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board secretary Mr Richard Yuen said cost was the main disadvantage for Hong Kong's ports, with handling charges up to 30 per cent more expensive than those of nearby Shenzen, Shekou and Yantien ports.

However, he said charges were not likely to fall in the near future.

"In the long term we expect Hong Kong to continue to be more expensive than Shenzen port mainly because of our high cost base and, secondly, because of the premium on high-quality service," he said.

Instead, the island state's major terminal operators, such as Modern Terminals and Hongkong International Terminal, could assist by reducing the effects of the regional economic crisis.

"We would like to see a more efficient response to the market situation among the terminals," Mr Yuen said.

Hong Kong's Port and Maritime Board recently implemented a range of initiatives to encourage shipowners to join its Shipping Register. Reduced fees and a simplified survey cycle have been introduced to reduce shipowners' costs and entice them to the Register.

In other regional port developments:

INDIA: The Indian Government recently ruled that foreign investors seeking 100 per cent shareholding in ports could receive automatic approval from the Reserve Bank of India. …

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