Cleaner Star Ferry diesel 'will not raise costs'

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 31 October, 2007, 12:00am

The government said a new condition for the Star Ferry to use cleaner fuel upon renewal of its franchise would not increase its operating costs.

At yesterday's Legco transport panel meeting, Deputy Secretary for Transport and Housing Cathy Chu Man-ling said the costs of adopting emulsified diesel - an emission-friendly fuel that Star Ferry is testing - were similar to the diesel its fleet uses.

If emulsified diesel is proven ineffective in improving emissions, the operator may have to opt for more expensive ultra-low-sulfur diesel.

Results of the emulsified diesel tests will be ready next year. Tests on the other fuel are to finish in 2009.

The government is imposing stricter emission control as it proposes to renew the ferry operator's franchise in March for another 10 years.

Lawmakers agreed to the extension but expressed concern that the requirement may prompt a fare rise.

Independent lawmaker Albert Chan Wai-yip said the government should consider subsidising Star Ferry.