HK cargo handling rises 18.8pc

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 July, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong's port handled 18.8 per cent more cargo in June as exporters rushed to ship their goods before the mainland cut export-tax rebates.

Throughput rose to 2.06 million 20-foot equivalent units (teu) last month at the world's third-busiest port, according to preliminary figures posted on the Port Development Council's website.

For the first six months this year, throughput was 11.55 million teu, up 2.5 per cent year on year.

Mainland exporters shipped more than usual last month as the reduction of tax rebates for exports on almost 3,000 types of products became effective on July 1.

That caused a 27 per cent surge in the value of the country's exports, further widening its trade surplus by 85.5 per cent last month to a record US$26.9 billion.

Shanghai, which surpassed Hong Kong to become the world's second-busiest port in the first quarter this year, handled 24 per cent more cargo to 12.5 million teu in the first six months, from 10.06 million teu a year earlier.

Shanghai is expected to overtake Singapore as the world's busiest port next year as the mainland economy continues to expand. Its container throughput capacity has been growing at more than 20 per cent in the past three years.

Weng Mengyong, a vice-minister of communications, said last month that Hong Kong port operators should devise ways to cut costs to maintain their leading status among counterparts in the region.