Hong Kong Mid-Stream Industry Development
As you become aware of that consist of three components of Hong Kong Container Throughput. One of them is Mid-Stream operation. Hong Kong Mid-Stream operation handling container began early seventy years last century. When in Nov 1972, United Nation organized the World's First Conference on International Container Traffic to which more than 120 nations and organizations send their representatives to attend the meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. The containerization concept is being accepted by delegates. Thereafter, International Maritime Organization and International Standardization Organization to rule ship's capability, particulars and safety. Therefore, the traditional Break Bulk Marine Transportation has been revolutionary changed to Containerization Marine Transport model. There is a natural harbour in Hong Kong, but lack of container terminal. The Former Colonial Government as see it concurrently with the private terminal developer asked to build up container terminal in Hong Kong to meet market demand. In early 1970 last century, the Authority formed a grant with private treaty to Developer to develop a container terminal with 3 berths at Rambler Channel near Kwai Chung Sea Bed, which was completed 2 years later. The 3 berths accommodate only for crossing Trans-Ocean vessels while the container vessel's arrival almost in the same time, the berth would then be fully occupied and the berth become the congestion, the vessel be needed awaiting in the stream which was caused shipping lines loss money and schedules. Shipping lines would have to consider try to use derrick barge to load and discharge of container while vessel in the stream so that this operational model have been created a primary Mid-stream Operation Concept.
The Former Colonial Government as seen Containerization in the international shipping industry rapidity development. In the meantime, the shipping lines asked the government to form more land to build up container terminal to ease berth congestion. Thereafter, 4 container terminals with total 14 berths had been launched under different terms and conditions to the private developer in 1976, 1985, 1988 and 1991 respectively. The increase containers throughput far over numbers of berths has been supplied in the same period of that time. Therefore, the situation of shortage of container berth keeps unimproved for a long period. On the other side, mainland container terminal yet begin to develop so that unable Trans-Ocean shipping line to call mainland port directly. Most of Chinese export and import cargoes transited at Hong Kong. Ever since, China - Hong Kong Feeder Service have rapidly increased. Till early 1990, it is also Mid-Stream industry had been reached her top record. The modification of derrick barge and her size as large as she can, the barge capacity up to 48 TEU which is counted on flat bottom of cargo hold be capable of handling 3,500 TEU container vessel, container barge being used for handling ocean vessel in stream around 200 - 250 units, the monthly handling container on or about over thirty hundred thousand TEU. Container handling in Mid-Stream probably first created in Hong Kong is also a miracle in port development.
Mid-Stream industry also need a land site with a water frontage, at initial stage most of Mid-Stream operators use public cargo working area which was provided by government. Following the container handling activities increase and lighter capacities become more and more large, the site at PCWA were not accommodated, therefore, the Mid-Stream operators asking government to launch some suitable land with waterfront under short term tenancy condition for use of Mid-Stream site. Mid-Stream operators were not likely willing investment on a temporary basis site, upon completion of primary treatment of the land immediately put into service. While on raining season the site was floated which was given a bad impress on the public.
Through over 20 years' development and modification, Mid-Stream industry nowadays becomes a unique operational model. The official appropriate department has changed their mind to this industry in recognition of its contribution to the port of development, to give a livelihood. Later on, the government set out 2 pieces of land with a total site area of 6.9 hectares for Mid-Stream operation for a 50 years basis under open tender to the public neat Stonecutter Island. The tender awarded land to plan, desire, construction and fittings as much as they could so that given a service level be closed to Kwai Chung Container Terminal.
The more container terminal has been completed year by year and put into operation during past ten years, the Mid-Stream operation having played complementary role to the terminal operators which is now became a unique role in keeping the Intra-Asia Shipping lines and China feeder or its related trade to use the Hong Kong port.
Mid-Stream Operators offer far less container handling tariff to the shipping lines, having its flexibility advantage operative mode given shipping lines to have one more choice of port facilities in Hong Kong, believe that it still be alive for a certain years.