Hong Kong’s role as the principal ocean hub serving the mainland will be tested this month with the opening of an US$8.2 billion bonded port and logistics park in Shenzhen.
Raymond Yu Liming, an executive director of China Merchants Holdings (International), the major investor in the park, suggested — hope springs eternal — Hong Kong should bundle its services with Shenzhen and regard the quasi-free port as its long-planned 10th container terminal. It could happen but do not bet on it.
The Qianhaiwan Custom-bonded Port and Logistics Park, which serves as a bonded warehouse and centralised customs inspection site, obtained the necessary approvals from the Mainland’s General Administration of Customs on July 10 to operate as a quasi-free port.
This means from now on, the park can provide nearly every attraction Hong Kong offers—- a tax-free conduit for imported goods and immediate tax rebates for exported products — the key requirements to qualify as an international sea hub.
Although Qianhaiwan is the smallest of 10 customs-bonded logistics parks on the Mainland, further expansion is in the pipeline.
CargoNews Asia reported that Raymond Yu Liming said in the short term, Hong Kong would remain as the preferred ocean hub because of its advantages in efficiency, a more advanced financial system and accessibility of global information.
He added, "But in the longer term, Hong Kong and Shenzhen should be bundling together and merging their operations. To begin with, the city should see Qianhaiwan as the extension of its terminal facility." Perhaps. Possibly. Maybe.