Fees lowered in drive to attract operators

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 18 November, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 18 November, 1998, 12:00am

The Government has reduced shipping-register fees and simplified ship-surveying procedures to help shipowners remain competitive, acting Chief Executive Anson Chan Fang On-sang said yesterday.

It would also help owners to lower their overseas tax liabilities through reciprocal arrangements with other jurisdictions, she said.

Mrs Chan was speaking after naming the container ship P&O Nedlloyd Kowloon at Modern Terminal's berth 5 in Kwai Chung.

Hong Kong had already entered into a double taxation arrangement with the United States and the mainland, she said.

The SAR was also negotiating reciprocal freight tax exemption arrangements with many key trading partners.

She was confident that the Government could continue to attract more shipping companies to Hong Kong.

Besides the new initiatives, the SAR offered a wide range of support services to shipping businesses in telecommunications, banking and finance, legal and insurance.

These were backed by the advantages of a clean and efficient public sector and the rule of law.

'These, we are confident, give us a great non-price competitive edge over the others,' Mrs Chan said.

Mrs Chan said the SAR needed ships of the size and quality of P&O Nedlloyd Kowloon to meet the growing demands of international trade.

The 82,700 deadweight tonne vessel, which has a capacity of 6,690 teu (20-ft equivalent units), is one of the world's largest container vessels.

The ship, more than 300 metres long and 43 metres wide, is the latest in a series of four Southampton Class vessels delivered to P&O Nedlloyd this year.

P&O Nedlloyd chief executive Tim Harris said three of the vessels placed end to end would stretch from the Convention Centre to Kowloon.

The company has invested almost US$100 million to build the P&O Nedlloyd Kowloon.

It will serve in the Asia-Europe service under the Grand Alliance partnership, which includes Hapag-Lloyd, Malaysia International Shipping Corp, NYK Line and Orient Overseas Container Line.

The vessel, which was built at the IHI shipyard at Kure in Japan, arrived in Hong Kong on her maiden voyage yesterday.

The vessel will head for Singapore next before sailing for Southampton. It will take 51 days to complete a round voyage.

Mr Harris said P&O Nedlloyd was looking to open more offices in the mainland, as it was a growing manufacturing base.

The company recently received a licence to open an office in Shanghai.