Taiwan port seen as main threat to HK
WONG JOON SAN
Taiwan's Kaohsiung port is Hong Kong's strongest rival for its transshipment business, Port Development Board secretary Tony Clark says.
Mr Clark said the rapidly growing port was well-placed to take Hong Kong's transshipment cargo originating in eastern and northern China.
'Our current estimates put the volume of this cargo at about one million teu (20-ft equivalent units) a year,' he said. Taiwan would also compete with the territory for cargo from Vietnam and the Philippines.
Maersk Line invested in a terminal in Kaohsiung four years ago while Nedlloyd Line had tendered for one as well.
'The amount of cargo diverted from Hong Kong will be determined by the availability of low-cost and efficient port and liner services in China and Taiwan,' he told delegates at the China Intermodalism Conference '96, organised by Cargonews Asia.
Mr Clark said other ports such as Singapore, Japan's Kobe and South Korea's Busan also competed with Hong Kong, although high costs reduced Kobe's impact.
Japanese ports had always handled large volumes of north and eastern Chinese transshipment cargo, he said.
The territory's Taiwan business was at risk from political factors and its north and central China transshipment trade was at risk as volumes increased, he warned.
'On eastern routes, it is not logical for large volumes to be carried to Hong Kong on feeder vessels for trans-Pacific transshipment if eastern ports are available.' Mr Clark said although shippers with a dedicated terminal might use Kaohsiung because it was cheaper, the port was perhaps 'a little less efficient and more bureaucratic' than Hong Kong.
Turning to China, Mr Clark said Beijing had identified four new ports as transshipment hubs for container traffic. They were Dayao Bay, near Dalian in Liaoning province; Meizhou Bay in Fujian; Beilun in Ningbo, Zhejiang; and Dapeng Bay in Shenzhen.