HK Competition Commission okays box shops' Seaport Alliance plan
HONG KONG's Transport and Housing Bureau is expected to decide on August 26 whether to accept remedies proposed by container terminal operators of the Seaport Alliance in response to criticism from the Competition Commission after its 17-month probe
HONG KONG's Transport and Housing Bureau is expected to decide on August 26 whether to accept remedies proposed by container terminal operators of the Seaport Alliance in response to criticism from the Competition Commission after its 17-month probe.
In response, the Seaport Alliance, which includes four of the five operators at the Kwai Tsing Container Terminals, proposes to cap prices, reported Hong Kong's South China Morning Post.
The Hong Kong competition watchdog said there were competition concerns for shipments between Hong Kong and the mainland and local logistics, but recommended acceptance of the operators' proposed remedies.
'The commission considers that the proposed commitments are appropriate to address its concerns, and it therefore proposes to accept them,' it said in a statement.
The alliance said its joint planning and allocation of berths had boosted the port's efficiency, halving the number of trips required to transfer goods between vessels.
But Hong Kong Shippers' Council chairman Willy Lin Sun-mo said: 'Why can't the charges come down at this difficult economic time? If the alliance manages to raise efficiency and savings, why is there no transparency in letting us know who benefited from the savings?'
Said Stanley Chiang Chi-wai, chairman of Lok Ma Chau China-Hong Kong Freight Association: 'From day one, when the rivals came together as partners, it meant no choices for shipping lines and truckers. Having no competition further hurts Hong Kong's image, which is already negative because of the trade war and rising tensions between the US and China, and the Covid-19 pandemic.'
Set up in January of 2019, the alliance operates 23 berths across eight terminals at the Kwai Tsing port, with a 95 per cent share of the market, leaving the sole remaining operator - DP World - to administer one berth at Terminal 3.