A consortium of players from the port of Hong Kong is looking at boosting refrigerated facilities, to gain an edge over the heavy competition from mainland China, while seeking to regain its position as the world’s busiest shipping hub.
Recently, a container of freshly harvested Chilean cherries arrived at the city’s Kwai Tsing Container Terminals, only to be distributed at wholesale markets in Guangzhou within five hours. According to Modern Terminals Limited (MTL) group managing director Horace Lo Wai-man, this was made possible after all but one of the terminal operators, banded together and coughed up a capacity of more than 7,800 refrigerated containers, twice that of rivals in southern China.
“From going through customs inspection to a truck’s arrival at Guangzhou, it takes 4½ hours,” he said in an interview with the Post. “In China, it takes several hours just to clear the customs.”
The Hong Kong Seaport Alliance was not without controversy, however. Last October it addressed concerns of the city’s antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission, by putting in place commitments to ensure a level playing field at the port.
According to scmp.com, the alliance came under investigation because MTL, Hongkong International Terminals, COSCO-HIT Terminals (Hong Kong), Asia Container Terminals jointly operate and manage their 23 berths across eight terminals at the Kwai Tsing port. The fifth operator Goodman DP World is not part of the alliance.
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