Li Ka-shing is arguably the richest Asian in the world. And he is immensely shrewd. As chairman of Hutchison Whampoa Li Ka-shing said, while announcing the company's results, that Hong Kong doesn't need a 10th container terminal.
The government of the SAR believes container throughput will continue to increase and is eyeing southwestern Tsing Yi in Hong Kong as a possible site to build Container Terminal 10. A Transport and Housing Bureau spokesman said a new berth would be needed by as early as 2015.
Li Ka-shing said the idea that expanding the port and building a cross-border bridge would boost the city's cargo business was 'wishful thinking'.
He said Shenzhen would overtake Hong Kong within four years as the world's third-busiest cargo port.
By cargo tonnage, or the total weight of goods loaded at a port, Shanghai currently ranks first, with 560 million tonnes in 2007, followed by Singapore with 483.4 million tonnes.
Measured by TEUs, Singapore is the world's largest, with about 28 million, and Shanghai second, with more than 26 million.
Hong Kong handled 245.4 million tonnes of cargo and 24 million TEUs last year.
Li noted that at Zhuhai's container terminals in Gaolan, the fees for handling cargo are cheaper than in Hong Kong. He said, 'Even if the cargo leaves via Hong Kong, it would still be cheaper than if the cargo was handled here. We cannot compete.'
Zhuhai container terminals are in the city of Zhuhai on the western bank of the Pearl River Delta in Guangdong Province, adjacent to Macau and 36 nautical miles from Hong Kong.
Hutchison Whampoa generated 15% of its revenue last year from port-related business, which earned it US$4.85 billion, up from $4.23 billion in 2006.