Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong is highly utilised throughout the year

PUBLISHED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 5:08pm
UPDATED : Friday, 07 October, 2016, 9:53pm

I refer to Charmaine Chan’s article in Post Magazine (“A wide berth”, October 2).

Worldwide Cruise Terminals is sorry to hear that she had difficulty arranging a pick-up for her parents on a cruise arriving around April. It is true that there is limited parking in the terminal, insufficient for several thousand guests to all arrange a private pick-up.

There is a pick-up area at the first-floor meeting point used by hotel limousines, cruise-line limousines and pre-arranged taxis, and we believe this is what she arranged with her friend’s driver.

Unfortunately, under the individual licensing scheme, it is not possible to pre-arrange taxis to pick up several thousand cruise ship visitors disembarking in a two-hour span, so as terminal managers, we arrange free shuttles to nearby MTR stations – with taxis, paid shuttles to major hotels, intercity rail and the Airport Express, and the cruise lines also generally offer transfers to the airport and other locations.

We do invite the 36 taxi associations for regular meetings, send them notice of ship calls by email, fax, WhatsApp and phone, and have staff stationed at a nearby junction with a placard to attract more taxis.

The kerbside taxi queue signage is very conservative in predicting wait times because, unlike an amusement park ride, we do not know how quickly taxis will arrive.

Taxi supply has increased significantly as the drivers gain familiarity with the location.

We share online commentators’ desire for more robust road, rail and ferry connections in the new Kai Tak district.

Better road connections, like a direct road along the former runway to Kowloon City and the future Kai Tak MTR station, would encourage more taxi drivers to come to the area.

The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is in fact very highly utilised. In addition to the well-patronised restaurants and some 20 events held monthly at the terminal, we will have a mega cruise ship at berth on average approximately every other day in 2017, throughout the year, as is shown on our website.

This compares quite favourably to many overseas terminals which have port calls six months of the year and almost all are shuttered when a ship is not at berth.

We will continue to lobby for better transport connections.

Jeff Bent, managing director, Worldwide Cruise Terminals