The Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) today welcomed OOCL Hong Kong, one of the world’s largest container vessels, on its maiden call to Hong Kong at the HKSPA’s facilities at Terminal 8. The vessel, together 10 other mega vessels from Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and COSCO Shipping Lines, has been deployed on the OCEAN Alliance’s Asia-North Europe Service since late June. The inclusion of Hong Kong as a port of call in this service re-affirms the city’s status as an international shipping hub and a key gateway to mainland China, the HKSPA said in a statement.
Formed in January this year, HKSPA has completed its berth and yard planning strategies to provide enhanced services to customers. The 23 berths under the members of HKSPA are divided into three terminal zones to provide greater efficiency to shipping alliances and individual carriers.
With a capacity of 21,413 TEU, OOCL Hong Kong was the first vessel in the world to cross the 21,000 TEU mark in May 2017. Currently there are 12 container vessels in the world with a capacity of over 21,000 TEU and the Ocean Alliance Asia-North Europe Service features eight of them, including COSCO Shipping’s largest vessel COSCO Shipping Galaxy, which called at Hong Kong earlier in the month on her maiden voyage.
In welcoming the Ocean Alliance’s new service and COSCO Shipping Galaxy to Hong Kong, Angela Lee, commissioner for maritime and port development and deputy secretary for transport and housing, emphasized the multi-faceted appeal and new prospects for the Hong Kong Port.
“Hong Kong, despite being small in size, has been in the league of the world’s top 10 ports for the past 30 years or so. This is an enviable achievement not easy to accomplish. Credits must go to our port operators for the provision of highly efficient and professional services to the international shipping community. Coupled with our sound fundamentals built over the years, including our free port status, strong international connectivity, trusted common law system, and a level playing field for business, I am confident that our port would be able to further leverage on new opportunities presented by the Greater Bay Area Development, the Belt and Road Initiative and the New Land-Sea Corridor, and continue to thrive as a regional transshipment hub,” Lee said.
Peter J. Levesque, group managing director of Modern Terminals Limited said: “The arrival of the OOCL Hong Kong highlights HKSPA’s ability to handle the world’s largest container ships while emphasizing Hong Kong’s critical role as a transportation and logistics hub in the region.”
Andy Tung, co-chief executive officer of OOCL said: “As a Hong Kong company deeply rooted in the city, OOCL Hong Kong’s maiden call has a very special place in many of our hearts. Containerships like the OOCL Hong Kong are important ambassadors of world trade and as a home carrier, we are very proud to have this vessel carry the name of Hong Kong, flying the flag of Hong Kong, and continue serving the industries of Hong Kong. OOCL is very blessed to call Hong Kong our home and being an integral part of the city’s vibrant business community over the last 50 years, providing a vital link to global trade. We like to thank the HKSPA for the wonderful hospitality and celebrating this milestone event together with us.”
The Ocean Alliance’s Asia-North Europe Service started calling Hong Kong on June 26 with a port rotation of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian, Singapore, Felixstowe, Zeebrugge, Gdansk, Wilhelmshaven, Piraeus, Port Klang and Hong Kong.