The opening of the world’s longest sea crossing the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge is set to boost trade and logistics in the region and add more volumes at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA).
Chinese President Xi Jinping officially opened the bridge today in Zhuhai, along with the leaders of Hong Kong and Macau, nine years after construction first began on the $15.3 billion construction. The bridge will open to regular traffic tomorrow (Wednesday).
The bridge spans 55km (34 miles) and connects Hong Kong to Macau and the mainland Chinese city of Zhuhai. This includes access roads at each crossing point and about 30km of it crosses the Pearl River Delta (PRD).
The bridge will be used daily by numerous trucks and e-commerce vans travelling between Zhuhai and Hong Kong. Before it was opened the journey would take about three and a half hour – but the bridge cuts this down to about 45 minutes.
Construction is forecasted to lead to the doubling of the volume of cargo moved to and from mainland China and will also ease the flow of freight between the city and the western Pearl River Delta and Guangdong and Guangxi provinces.
The bridge will benefit the likes of Hong Kong Air Cargo Industry Services Limited (Hacis) – the value-added logistics arm of cargo handler Hactl.
Earlier this year, Hacis and Chu Kong Shipping Enterprises (Group) Company Limited (CKS) entered into a strategic partnership covering the development of joint logistics activity throughout the western part of the PRD.
The first project will be the opening of a new inland cargo depot in Zhuhai Free Trade Zone, in collaboration with CKS subsidiary Civet (Zhu Hai) Logistics Co., Ltd., which operates its own port facility in Zhuhai Free Trade Zone. This brings the number of Hacis depots in southern mainland China to nine.
Hacis’ latest depot will enable it to realise its long-stated ambition to further develop its SuperLink China Direct (SLCD) road feeder service network, and establish a strong local presence in the Zhuhai area, to take full advantage of the imminent opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge (HZMB). The depot will cover the Macau and Zhuhai conurbations.
All Hacis depots are linked with Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) via scheduled express road feeders and the opening of the new bridge will slash trucking times between the western PRD and HKIA.
The western PRD is home to many electronics manufacturers and technology companies. Currently, many of these are heavy users of ocean freight. Hacis and CKS have identified the potential to convert much of this traffic to airfreight, once the opening of the HZMB provides a faster and more cost-effective connection to HKIA.