HK government considers moving trade terminal to make way for new town

22-Oct-2019 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong’s government is looking at relocating the city’s 65-hectare River Trade Terminal to make way for a major new town in the northwest of the city, the development minister has said.

As one of the land-boosting measures announced in the policy address last Wednesday, a study will be carried out early next year into the development potential of 440 hectares of land along Tuen Mun West to house the proposed residential settlement and a nearby industrial site, subject to funding approval from the Legislative Council.

Under the vision, half of that land would be for the new town and the other half would serve as an alternative site for the container port and other transferred industry.

Explaining the long-term plan on a radio programme on Friday, Secretary for Development Michael Wong Wai-lun, believed the coastal area development could be on a similar scale to other new towns established in Hong Kong.

“We hope to relocate the current logistics and industrial businesses to the 220-hectare proposed reclamation land at Lung Kwu Tan, somewhere more remote in northwest Tuen Mun, thus freeing up another 220 hectares from the River Trade Terminal and its surrounding coastal land for residential development,” Wong said.

Wong added 70 per cent of the 220-hectare area earmarked for residential development could be used for public and subsidised housing, 30 per cent for private residences and a smaller percentage for commercial use, benefiting the city amid housing shortages.

The proposed residential development would be 10 times the size of Taikoo Shing, the popular housing estate in Quarry Bay on Hong Kong Island.

The River Trade Terminal, which opened in 1998, is used to move cargo between Hong Kong and ports in the Pearl River Delta.

While the timetable for the study and development plans remained unknown, Housing minister Frank Chan said the use of the terminal had been diminishing.

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“After the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge opened to traffic, as well rises for air cargo, the River Trade Terminal is only operating at 25 per cent of capacity,” Chan said.

“The terminal still has its importance in the short-run as many of the Chinese cities are along the coast, and we cannot afford a total shutdown immediately, but we have to consider its future development.”

Another underlying problem is the land lease of the terminal. It is currently rented to a joint venture between Hutchison Port Holdings and Sun Hung Kai Properties until June 30, 2047. ministers have not yet addressed that issue.

The Tuen Mun coastal development, including reclamation of the terminal, was first discussed by the Task Force on Land Supply, appointed by Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in 2017.

The task force concluded in its report last year that if all industrial facilities next to the terminal were relocated to the newly reclaimed area, which could take anywhere from 15 to 20 years, the terminal site as well as the coastal area, could be suitable for housing.

Plans for the container terminal site to be redeveloped for homes have received mixed feedback from stakeholders.

Stanley Tandon Lal Chiang, chair of the Lok Ma Chau China-Hong Kong Freight Association, has objected to the plans, saying the terminal serves as a transport hub between mainland China and Hong Kong.

There are also likely to be a number of significant environmental and transport infrastructure planning challenges to overcome.

Local district councillors have expressed concern that Tuen Mun Road, the district’s main artery, was already packed with vehicles and faced significant traffic congestion every day.

Apart from the Tuen Mun reclamation, Wong also revealed a study into the building of 1000-hectare artificial islands off Lantau would continue, in the hope of getting funding from Legislative Council’s Finance Committee.


Category: Hong Kong

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