HONGKONG : Hongkong International Terminals (HIT) has refuted market rumours that the entire site of terminal 9 at Kwai Tsing Container Terminal has been decommissioned.
HIT, a joint venture between Hutchison Ports and COSCO Shipping Ports, stated that only the north part of the terminal, covering a 19-hectare area, was decommissioned. This began in 2020 and was completed in 2022.
Hong Kong’s container throughput has slowed since the Covid-19 pandemic, and it has been predicted that 2023 volume will drop to 14 million TEUs, from 18 million TEUs in 2019, falling out of the top 10 global port throughput rankings.
Volumes at the Kwai Tsing terminal have also declined in tandem, and Hong Kong is contending with a slowing global economy, geopolitical tensions, and greater China’s slow recovery from the pandemic, as well as competition from mainland Chinese ports. Compared with 2019, the overall throughput of Kwai Tsing will drop by approximately 24% in 2023, as utilization is said to be around just 50%.
During the pandemic, with intermittent lockdowns, liner operators ended up skipping calls to Hong Kong, focusing on other major Chinese container ports in the Pearl River Delta.
It has been forecast that Hong Kong has lost about 2 million TEU to Nansha and Shenzhen ports.