Immigration staff predict a record 6.78 million cross-border journeys will be made during the Christmas and New Year holidays. The Immigration Department has announced special arrangements to cope with extra traffic at the border. The estimate for travel through the Lowu and Lok Ma Chau checkpoints between Friday and January 4 is 13 per cent higher than last year's figure. Christmas Eve is expected to see the heaviest traffic, with 345,000 journeys. A joint command centre, involving the Hong Kong police, immigration, customs and transport departments, the KCRC and the Shenzhen authorities has been set up. Contingencies such as flow-control measures are planned. The Immigration Department will open extra counters and deploy an additional 157 staff. The police will strengthen their presence, deploying more than 1,000 officers at the border over the period. Among the millions of travellers using the checkpoints will be mainland tourists. About 1,800 mainland tour groups have been advised to use the Lowu checkpoint. Wai Chuen, the Immigration Department's border division commander, said: 'There are fewer facilities at the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint than at Lowu, so we've told tour operators things would go more smoothly if they opt for the Lowu checkpoint.' Lowu is expected to handle 73 per cent of the traffic - 4.92 million passengers, at a daily average of 289,000, 2.6 per cent higher than last year's average. Traffic at Lok Ma Chau should see an increase of about 60 per cent on last year, given that it is now open round the clock. The number of departing passengers at Lowu is expected to peak at 220,000 on December 24, while the peak of arrivals will be on December 28, when 190,000 people return to Hong Kong. Lok Ma Chau is forecast to handle about 1.43 million passengers - a daily average of 84,000, with a peak of 53,000 people departing on December 24 and peak arrivals of 57,000 on December 21.