Port of Hong Kong faces decline in liner connectivity


Network overviews from major liner alliances point to continuous decline in connectivity for the Port of Hong Kong.

Port of Hong Kong faces decline in liner connectivity
Port of Hong Kong

The Port of Hong Kong is increasingly being omitted from major shipping lines’ East-West trades, maritime analytics firm Sea-Intelligence said.

The observation is derived from the latest network overviews from the top container shipping alliances that support the negative trend.

Specifically, Gemini Cooperation, announced earlier this year by Maersk and Hapag Lloyd, does not include direct deep-sea calls in Hong Kong in its network overview.

The Gemini cooperation, targeting schedule reliability of over 90%, relies heavily on a small number of transshipment hubs to support its new network. The duo will control five transshipment terminal hubs, and having control over the hubs has been described as a ‘critical element’ in having an efficient network.

That being said, the impeccable performance of these transshipment hubs will be at the heart of the success of the Gemini Cooperation.

Drewry: Role of transshipment hubs in Gemini cooperation critical

Furthermore, in Ocean Alliance’s updated 2024 network, direct port calls in Hong Kong will decline from 11 to just 6. THE Alliance’s published their 2025 Transpacific network overview last week, and Hong Kong will be removed from their Pacific South West and Pacific North West services, and will only be served on a single Asia-US East Coast service.

Data from the latest Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) also shows a continuous decline in connectivity for Hong Kong, over the past decade.

Liner connectivity for Hong Kong dropped to its lowest point of 388 in 2023-Q4, only increasing marginally to 390 in 2024-Q1. Overall, however, the trend is a consistent sharp decline.

“While this does not bode well for the Port of Hong Kong, it should also be seen as a sign that an element of network consolidation is afoot, especially as it relates to transshipment hubs. Analysis of network design and network efficiency will show that fewer, but larger, hubs are economically more efficient. Hong Kong appears to be the first major “victim” of this. But as the new alliance constellations improve their networks in the coming years, it is likely that more ports could risk the same fate as Hong Kong,” Alan Murphy, CEO, Sea-Intelligence, said.

The Port of Hong Kong, a major hub in the maritime landscape of Southeast and East Asia, holds its ground among the globe’s top ten busiest container ports. However, the port grapples with dwindling volumes, a challenge exacerbated by stiff competition from ports in southern China, notably the Port of Shenzhen.

The port has nine terminals, 24 berths, and 96 quay cranes. Its quay length, just shy of 7.8 kilometers, falls short compared to neighboring counterparts.

In a bid to modernize operations, Hongkong International Terminals has embraced automation, with Terminal 9 adopting  remote control cranes and automated container stacking systems.

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