Hong Kong boxship chokepoint partially lifted

The global logistical problems currently impacting the containership market amid high levels of demand have been given a slight degree of relief. Vessel height restrictions for ships heading underneath Hong Kong’s Tsing Ma Bridge will be lifted this week from 53 m to 54.6 m, and to 57 m at certain hours. Ships ranging in size between 8,000 and 15,000 teu will finally be able to transit through the waterway below the bridge.

Hong Kong’s liner community had been calling for the height restrictions to be lifted for the past seven years. The bridge lies overhead a key channel leading into Hong Kong’s Kwai Tsing container terminal.

Roberto Giannetta, chairman of the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association said that even at 57 metres, containerships of more than 18,000 teu would require still further air clearance adjustments to be able to transit under the bridge. “But, at least, with this latest adjustment from January 28th we will be able to accommodate most of the vessels within 8,000 to 15,000 teu that previously did not meet the Marine Department’s air clearance requirements”.

The lowest point within the navigational channels under the bridge is 65.8m, and the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association has said that there is a potential for further adjustments. The Tsing Ma Bridge, the world’s 14th-longest span suspension bridge, was completed in 1997.