Kai Tak Cruise Terminal is the envy of rivals and helping Hong Kong to power ahead
We would like to reply to Alex Lo’s opinion piece, “Time to sink Hong Kong cruise terminal for housing”, March 8).
As per our website, government announcements, and other open sources, there were 190 cruise ship calls at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in 2017. This was 78 per cent of the total in Hong Kong. There were 216 ship days.
Per the government, over 780,000 cruise passengers used the Kai Tak terminal in 2017, or 85 per cent of the Hong Kong total. Total Hong Kong cruise throughput in 2017 was already at the high end of the government’s projections for the year 2023, and has more than quadrupled since 2013, when Kai Tak opened. Throughput at Kai Tak has grown much faster than the global industry or the rest of Asia in this time.
Retail space at the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, representing 4 per cent of the terminal area, was fully leased in 2017. One of the seven shops ceased operation, and we are in legal proceedings to recover vacant possession so it can be re-let.
Mr Lo states that Kai Tak is a popular residential district. However, all the land in the Kai Tak area sold to date has been at the far north end of the district, over 2km away from the cruise terminal. There is still no direct road linking north and south Kai Tak.
Cruise home ports are leisure travel facilities, and usage is concentrated on weekends and holidays; there is no weekday business travel by cruise ship.
The Kai Tak Cruise Terminal’s usage rate well exceeds many other dedicated leisure facilities. It is year-round traffic, on average every other day, which is rare and enviable. No cruise terminal in the world hosts as many or as high-profile events as the Kai Tak terminal, despite its busy berthing schedule.
Many people confuse the district with the terminal. It is not up to the cruise terminal to manage the district. The Kai Tak South district remains a work in progress, of which the cruise terminal is the only completed piece. We note that the lands in Kai Tak South near the cruise terminal, zoned for hotels and housing, have been placed on the next fiscal year’s land sale list again, and we urge the government to conduct the sales promptly. The district, including the terminal, will be much busier when the adjoining lands are developed, and the transport network is built out.
Jeff Bent, managing director, Worldwide Cruise Terminals