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Big ships to access Hong Kong as Tsing Ma Bridge air draft increases

THE Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA) welcomed the HK Marine Department's decision a promising step in the right direction to increase allowable air draft under the Tsing Ma Bridge from 54

28 January 2021 - 19:00
THE Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA) welcomed the HK Marine Department's decision a promising step in the right direction to increase allowable air draft under the Tsing Ma Bridge from 54.6 to 57.0 metres.

'With this latest adjustment, we will be able to accommodate most vessels within 8,000 to 15,000 TEU that previously did not meet the Marine Department's air clearance requirements,' said HKLSA chairman Roberto Giannetta.



'While clearances for the bridge in 1997 were sufficient to accommodate vessels of that day, bigger and taller vessels today require adjustments to be able to navigate under the bridge,' said Mr Giannetta.



'Even at 57 metres, the latest mega vessels - bigger than 18,000 TEU - require still further air clearance to transit under the Tsing Ma Bridge,' he said.



Mr Giannetta said the real impact of this relaxation now depends on when the Hong Kong Highway Department will grant the use of this additional air space.



'In principle, the way this additional height allowance will work is that the Highway Department will post the periods during the week when they will be deploying the maintenance gantry for inspection, maintenance, and repairs on the bridge,' he said.



Mr Giannetta said HKLSA raised the issue seven years ago. A third-party report spelled out the need for this revision, the beneficial economic effects, the internationally accepted safety standards that are well within shorter clearance margins, he said.



'With a height of 65.8 metres at the lowest point within the navigational channels under the bridge, we believe there is still room for further adjustments.



'But, we are happy to see this initial adjustment to 57 metres as a first step. We can monitor actual recordings and consider further adjustments once everyone is comfortable with such,' he said.



Details of the Amendment Regulations are available at the following websites:-i) https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/2020/ln236!enii) https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/2020/ln237!en


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