HK throughput falls 2.4pc on port competition

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 19 December, 2007, 12:00am

Hong Kong port's container throughput fell 2.4 per cent last month due to intensifying competition from mainland ports and fewer shipments to Europe.

Preliminary figures from the Port Development Council show Hong Kong handled 1.97 million 20 equivalent unit (teu) boxes last month.

Total volume rose 1.6 per cent to 21.7 million teu in the first 11 months of the year.

The Kwai Tsing container terminals' throughput, including shipments by Hutchison Whampoa and PSA International, rose 4.9 per cent year on year while that of other Hong Kong terminals fell 16.9 per cent.

'Shipments to Europe decreased last month from a year ago as consumers were concerned about the safety of China-made products such as toys, cradles and food,' said Sunny Ho, executive director of the Hong Kong Shippers' Council. 'Shenzhen's ports, whose traffic grew 10.6 per cent last month, are increasingly competitive against Hong Kong.'

He said the trend might continue for a long while as weaker demand in he United States might also hurt the city's exports next year.

The fast-growing Shenzhen ports, including Yantian Harbour, which is controlled by Hongkong International Terminals and Shenzhen Yantian Group, are expected to handle 21 million teu this year to replace Hong Kong as the third busiest in the world, according to the latest figures from the Shenzhen Port Administration. Shenzhen, the mainland's second-biggest container terminal after Shanghai and the fourth largest in the world, shipped a total of 15.3 million containers from January to September, up 14.1 per cent from last year.

Singapore, the world's busiest container port, boosted traffic 13 per cent to 25.5 million boxes in the first 11 months. Shanghai, ranked No3 last year, boosted traffic 20.5 per cent to 23.9 million teu during the same period.