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LCQ7: Cross-boundary ferry services

    Following is a question by the Hon Wong Ting-kwong and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Ms Eva Cheng, at the Legislative Council meeting today (November 14):


     Regarding the cross-boundary ferry services in Hong Kong, will the Government inform this Council:

(a)  of the total number of shipping companies currently providing cross-boundary ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau or the Mainland, and the respective numbers of ferry routes involved;

(b)  whether there was an increase in the number of shipping companies applying for the use of the berths of local ferry terminals to provide cross-boundary ferry services last year; if so, of the details;

(c)  whether it has received any application from the Las Vegas Sands Corp. for the operation of ferry services from Macau to the Hong Kong International Airport and the Macau Ferry Terminal at the Shun Tak Centre in Sheung Wan; if so, of the outcome of the applications, and whether it has assessed the impact of such ferry services on Hong Kong; and

(d)  whether the existing cross-boundary ferry terminals in Hong Kong can provide sufficient berths for such ferries; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?


Madam President,

(a)  At present, there are seven operators providing cross-boundary ferry services between Hong Kong and Macau and between Hong Kong and 13 ports in the Mainland at the four cross-boundary ferry terminals.

(b) and (c)

     From time to time, Marine Department (MD) receives applications from operators for use of berthing slots and terminal facilities at the Hong Kong - Macau Ferry Terminal and the China Ferry Terminal for the provision of cross-boundary ferry services to Macau and the Mainland. As the applications involve the operators' commercial plans and decisions, we do not disclose details concerning the applications.

(d)  In the light of the rising trend of cross-boundary ferry passengers, the Government will embark on a review on the use of cross-boundary ferry terminals. The purpose of the review is to further improve the operation of the cross-boundary ferry terminals, enhance the existing mechanism for allocating berthing slots and terminal facilities to ensure fair and efficient allocation of public resources, as well as to assess the future demands for berthing and terminal facilities for services to ports in the Mainland and to Macau, having particular regard to the need to maintain a high standard of passenger safety and comfort. Our objective is to enhance our connectivity with the Pearl River Delta region to maintain Hong Kong's position as a transport and maritime hub.  We will consult ferry service operators when conducting the review.

     We expect to complete the review in the first quarter of 2008. MD is now processing applications for berthing slots for services to be provided within this quarter (i.e. October to December 2007).  As regards future applications for berthing slots by operators, other than those for the provision of existing services, MD will process applications for berthing slots for additional or new services upon completion of the review.

Ends/Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Issued at HKT 16:00


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