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Hong Kong Seaport Alliance launches barge initiative

Hong Kong terminal operators come together in bid to make barge services more efficient.

The Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) has launched a series of new barge initiatives to improve service levels for barge handling at Hong Kong.

The HKSPA consists of four terminal operators: Hong Kong International Terminals, Modern Terminals, COSCO-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals. Together the terminals operate 12 dedicated barge berths, handling 100 daily barge calls with cargo connections between more than 100 terminals in South China and over 200 international weekly vessel calls.

Hong Kong’s container volume has continued to drop this year, falling 9.5% in the first six months of 2019. HKSPA members are trying to arrest the decline where they can, including in the barge sector where the key features of the new barge initiative include the standardisation of operations policy across HKSPA’s barge facilities, single berthing arrangements by zone, and a “favourable dockage scheme”. The HKSA said the initiatives will improve efficiency and turnaround times for barge voyages, while incentivising barge operators to expand their operations.

Tony Tong, Chairman of Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association said, “We welcome the new barge initiatives of HKSPA which enhance the competitiveness of Hong Kong in serving the barge hinterland in South China and its position as a major transshipment hub. Barge volume is crucial to the logistics industry in Hong Kong and the new initiatives offer values to all stakeholders by streamlining barge operations and enhancing the economics and efficiency in operating barge cargo connection in Hong Kong. We look forward to working with the industry to strengthen the cargo volume here in Hong Kong.”

Ellis Chung, Chairman of Guangdong and Hong Kong Feeder Association added: “Improving the turnaround time of our barges is always the key to enhancing our efficiency and improving the product we offer to our shipping line customers. HKSPA’s adoption of the terminal neutral model and standardisation of operations policy is expected to shorten our turnaround time, improve our slot utilisation, simplify administration and provide us with more flexibility. HKSPA has taken a proactive approach in understanding our needs and concerns regarding adoption of best operating practice and improving the Common Barge Platform to simplify operational procedures. We are dedicated to collaborating with HKSPA to improve the competitiveness of barge services in Hong Kong”.

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