Hong Kong sees drop in fleet size
THE collective fleet operated by members of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA) fell by about 5.6 million deadweight tonnes (dwt) to 56.07 million DWT last year.
The gross registered tonnage (grt) also fell by 3.77 million tonnes to 33.1 million grt.
The HKSOA said: 'It is speculated that the overall reduction in our collective fleet is attributed primarily to some members' operational control being relocated offshore, mainly to Singapore.' Director Michael Farlie said the trend was reversing because of high office and residential costs in Singapore.
While there was a drop in most types of vessels operated by HKSOA members, container vessels recorded the most noticeable rise of 48 vessels, of 2.5 million dwt.
'This growth has been probably at the expense of general cargo ships which have fallen by 50 per cent in vessel numbers and tonnage,' Mr Farlie said.
The HKSOA said the overall number of vessels operated by its members fell by 88 to 1,161 vessels compared with the previous corresponding year.
The number of bulk carriers was almost the same as in 1994 and tanker tonnage fell by seven million dwt.
There was also a cut of 18 vessels in the multi-purpose/oil/bulk/ore carrier sector of about one million dwt.
Mr Farlie said the ships registered on the Hong Kong register were steady with a slight rise for Liberia of about one million dwt to 16 million dwt.
Panama, he said, fell by 2.5 million, to 11 million dwt while registration in the Bahamas also fell by one million dwt.
China showed a small rise of 11 vessels or 50,000 dwt.
Mr Farlie said while wanting the Hong Kong register to be regarded as a quality register, the Government had to do some promotion within Hong Kong to continue its reputation as a user-friendly register.
Officials with the register should go out and meet their clients he said.