For discussion PWSC(96-97)43 on 10 July 1996


Air and Sea Communications - Portworks
107AP - Dredging of Rambler Channel and Its Approaches

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the upgrading of 107AP to Category A for dredging of Rambler Channel and its approaches at an estimated cost of $296.4 million in money-of-the-day prices.


The Rambler Channel and its approaches are not deep enough to cope with the new generation of deep draft container vessels.


2. The Director of Civil Engineering, with the support of the Secretary for Economic Services, proposes to upgrade 107AP to Category A at an estimated cost of $296.4 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices to carry out dredging works at Rambler Channel and its approaches.


3. The project comprises -

  1. dredging of about 250 hectares of seabed at Rambler Channel and its approaches;
  2. disposal of dredged material;
  3. formation, management and capping of mud pits at East Sha Chau to accommodate the contaminated dredged materials; and
  4. environmental monitoring.


4. In 1991, the South East Tsing Yi Port Development Study (SETY Study) recommended the dredging of Rambler Channel and its approaches to facilitate access to the container port by new, larger vessels which could be expected to enter service by 1997.

5. In practice, this new generation of container vessels is already coming into service and requires access to all berths in CT 1 to CT 8. A small number of such vessels is now precluded from entering or leaving the container port with the total load they wish to accommodate. In the circumstances, ship operators are having to resort to rotations of port calls, an approach which is less than optimal in terms of their services. By the middle of next year, the number of extra-deep vessels on the Europe-Far East and USA-Far East trades will make such alternative port rotation arrangements not viable. Hong Kong port must have adequate depth or be omitted from their schedules. We therefore consider it essential that the proposed dredging works should be carried out as soon as possible.

6. It had been our intention that the work should be done together with the dredging required for CT 9, as contingent work for the CT 9 project. Whilst we still hope to resolve the CT9 situation, we risk being unable to provide access to the rest of the container port if we delay the proposed dredging works further. We have, therefore, excised the dredging required for CT 9 from this project.


7. We estimate the capital cost of the project to be $296.4 million in MOD prices, made up as follows -

$ million

(a) Dredging of Rambler Channel and its approaches including disposal of dredged materials


(b) Formation, management and capping of mud pits


(c) Environmental monitoring


(d) Contingencies


(at December 1995 prices)


(e) Inflation allowance


(in MOD prices)


8. Subject to approval, we will phase expenditure as follows -


$ million
(Dec 1995)


$ million

1996 - 97




1997 - 98




1998 - 99






9. We have derived the MOD estimates on the basis of the Government’s forecasts of trend labour and construction prices over the period between 1996 and 1999. We will tender the dredging works at Rambler Channel and its approaches under a standard remeasurement contract because of the uncertainty about the seabed conditions. The formation of mud pits and subsequent management and capping of the pits will be tendered under two separate standard remeasurement contracts because of the uncertainty about the seabed conditions and the quantity of contaminated materials to be dredged from the Channel and its approaches. These three contracts will not be subject to contract price fluctuations as the contract period for each of them will not exceed 12 months.

10. We estimate the additional annually recurrent expenditure to be $6.8 million.


11. The dredging of Rambler Channel, was endorsed by the then Environmental Pollution Advisory Committee (EPCOM) in 1991. The SETY Study was presented to the Kwai Tsing District Board (DB) on 30 July 1991. DB members had no objections to the dredging aspects. We published two relevant Gazette Notices under the Foreshore and Sea-bed (Reclamations) Ordinance, one for the Rambler Channel and the other for its approaches. The first was published on 21 and 28 February 1992. The second was published on 13 and 20 March 1992.

12. Objections were received from some existing terminal operators who were concerned that the dredging works might cause disruption to their operations. The works will be carried out in such manner that disruption to traffic in the Channel will be within acceptable limits. The Governor in Council considered the schemes together with the objections and authorised the dredging works on 10 November 1992. The operators now endorse the proposed dredging works and request the Government to proceed as soon as possible to facilitate the arrival of the next generation of new and larger container vessels.

13. The proposed dredging of Rambler Channel, as an independent works item, was considered by the Container Handling Committee of the Port Development Board in January 1996. Members fully supported the scheme and urged Government to advance the dredging programme as far as practicable. The project was presented to the LegCo Economic Services Panel on 22 May 1996.


14. The environmental effects of the proposed dredging of Rambler Channel and Approaches were addressed as part of the SETY study in 1991. The study concluded that, with the implementation of the recommended mitigation measures, the environmental impact could be controlled to established standards. The former EPCOM endorsed the environmental assessment of the SETY Study in July 1991.

15. Subsequent to the 1991 SETY Study, we completed a detailed noise impact assessment based on the proposed dredging programme. The assessment concluded that the noise impact from the dredging work will be within the established standards.

16. As recommended by the previous study, we will control the water quality impact of the dredging works through the implementation of pollution control procedures, mitigation measures and dredger requirements in the relevant contracts. In addition, we will carry out water quality monitoring to ensure compliance.

17. The contaminated dredged materials will be disposed of at the existing gazetted contaminated mud disposal area east of Sha Chau. We have been managing an on-going monitoring programme of water, sediment and biota in and around the disposal facility to ensure that environmental impacts due to disposal activities are kept within the established standards. The monitoring results are reported to the Advisory Council on the Environment on a regular basis.


18. This project does not require land acquisition.


19. We included this project in Category B in January 1996. We have substantially completed the detailed design and working drawings using in-house staff resources. We have scheduled the proposed dredging works to start in September 1996 for completion in June 1997.

20. Arrangements have been made for disposal of the uncontaminated and contaminated dredged materials at the existing authorised South Cheung Chau and East Sha Chau disposal facilities respectively. The Fill Management Committee has given consent to the formation, management and capping of the mud pits at East Sha Chau to ensure sufficient capacity for the disposal of any contaminated dredged materials.

Last Updated on 8 December 1998