Terminal handling charges and mid-stream fees


DateContextSummary of developmentAction
22.7.98 CQ denoting Council Question Hon Kenneth TING raised a question on the monitoring terminal handling charges (THC). [Hansard]

Remarks: THC are charges collected by shipping lines to recover from the shippers, the cost of paying the container terminals or mid-stream operators, shipping companies and the shippers. Shipping lines operating in the major trade routes have formed themselves liner conferences to set THC.

11.12.98 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel invited deputations including Hong Kong Shippers' Council (HKSC), shipping lines and terminal operators and the Administration to discuss the paper on THC. [Paper]

Members noted that shipping lines used to charge a single rate to cover all shipping and terminal handling and related charges. The rate was however separated into the freight rate and THC since 1990. Members were concerned about the continuous increase and the possible price cartel of THC due to the lack of transparency and consultation with shippers when THCs were adjusted by liner conferences.

The Administration had examined the option of regulating THC by legislation but considered that the approach would impose intervention to market. The Administration undertook to urge the shipping lines and the terminal operators to freeze or reduce THC. Meanwhile, it would explore with shipping lines for more transparency in the setting of THC.

28.6.99 ES denoting Economic Services Panel eputations and the Administration were invited to discuss the issue related to THC.[Paper]

The Panel welcomed the liner conferences' agreement on frozen of THC for a year. Members noted that a subcommittee had been set up under the Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board (PMB) to improve the competitiveness of the Hong Kong container port. Members discussed on whether the THC should be regulated by legislation as the THC was still considered to be on a high side.

28.2.00 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel invited deputations and the Administration to discuss the paper on THC. [Paper]

While members noted that the THC would be frozen for another year, they opined that the problem of high THC remained unresolved. The competition from container ports in Pearl River Delta region also drew members' concern. Members queried whether the Administration had measures to improve competitiveness of the Hong Kong Container Port.

13.2.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel noted that the mid-stream operators started to impose a $40 mid-stream service fee (MSF) on the trucking industry which triggered a dispute between the mid-stream operators and the trucking industry.

At the Panel's meeting, the Administration informed members that the major parties (the Mid-stream Operators Association (HKMOA), Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association (HKLSA), the China-Hong Kong Transportation Joint Conference (CHKTJC) and HKSC) had reached a preliminary agreement on a new mechanism for collection of MSF. Members were of the view that the Administration should examine whether the pricing mechanism of mid-stream operation was anti-competitive.

6.3.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel noted that the HKMOA, HKLSA and HKSC had reached an agreement on using a coupon system to collect MSF. Nevertheless, the truck drivers and the mid-stream operators had dispute on the operation of the MSF coupon system commencing on 1 March 2001. The dispute was, however, resolved on 5 March 2001. [Paper]
26.3.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel Members noted that the Hong Kong Textiles and Garments Seven Associations (HKTGSA) and the Hong Kong Business Community Joint Conference (HKBCJC) had requested to present their views on MSF coupon system at the Panel's meeting. Against this background, deputations from HKTGSA, HKBCJC, HKMOA, HKLSA, HKSC and CHKTJC were invited to attend the meeting to express their views on the MSF.
9.4.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel noted the follow-up paper entitled "Port Development and the Container Freight Industry" after the Panel's meeting on 26.2.01.[follow-up Paper]

Noting the THC of Hong Kong was the highest in the world, members enquired about the components of the calculation of THC and raised query whether a cartel was formed to control THC.[Paper]

18.6.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel The Panel noted that there was another dispute regarding collection of MSF coupon which had led to protest actions taken by truck drivers. The Panel also noted that a press release was issued by HKSC on 11 June 2001. [Press release]

Deputations were invited to discuss the issue. The Administration was requested to produce a report for the Panel's consideration. The Administration provided its' report on 10 July 2001. [Follow-up Paper]

18.12.01 ES denoting Economic Services Panel A paper on the latest development of MSF was provided by the Administration for members' reference. [Paper]

Deputations were invited to joint the discussion. The Panel suggested that the case should be referred to the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre. The panel also urged the mid-stream operators to consider the views expressed by members and the abolition of MSF as requested by concerned parties.

30.1.02 CQ denoting Council Question Hon Emily LAU raised a question on the implementation of MSF coupon system. [Hansard "page 79"]
16.10.02 CM denoting Council Motion A motion moved by Hon Kenneth TING on Terminal handling charges was passed. [Hansard "page 183"]
10.12.03 CQ denoting Council Question Hon Kenneth TING raised a question on the Terminal handling charges. [Hansard "page 65"]


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