Hong Kong has planned several major transportation-related infrastructure projects to be completed in the next few years. There will likely be significant opportunities for U.S. companies to tender for contracts to supply equipment and services for these projects, which include roads, bridges, rail, airport expansion, and cruise terminal berths. Macau is also planning to build a new light rail system linking the Macau peninsula with Taipa Island and the Cotai Strip.
The Chinese Central Government recently announced its 12-year plan (2008-2020) for development in the Pearl River Delta (PRD) in southern China. The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has mapped out plans for cooperation with Hong Kong and Macau with an emphasis on transportation infrastructure projects, expecting to achieve greater economic integration in the PRD region by 2020. The Central Government has pledged to speed up infrastructure projects in the PRD, in part to compensate for the global economic downturn.
Hong Kong’s many planned infrastructure projects will require a wide range of equipment, technologies and consultancy services, including logistics and transportation management, waste management, environmental management, experience in land reclamation and related engineering fields. Equipment such as power supply systems, rail tracks, overhead wiring, escalators and lifts, signaling systems, trains, rail station platforms, building services, access control systems and electrical, civil, and mechanical engineering services will be needed.
To meet future traffic demand and to solve traffic congestion in the north-west New Territories and Lantau, Hong Kong Government planners have proposed the Tuen Mun Western Bypass and the Tuen-Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link. Upon completion in 2016, the US$2.56 billion project will link Deep Bay in Shenzhen, the north-west New Territories, and the Hong Kong International Airport.
The proposed Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB) is estimated to cost over US$5 billion. In February 2008, the Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai governments reached a consensus on financing, in the form of BOT (build-operate-transfer), with the three governments providing substantial contributions to the over-all construction budget. Under the current plan, the 29.6km six-lane bridge will include two reclaimed islands and a tunnel passing under the islands to provide sea vessels access to Pearl River Delta ports. This project has entered into the construction stage with completion scheduled for 2015-2016.
The MTR Corporation, which currently operates nine main commuter railway lines in Hong Kong, has initiated six large new railway projects valued at US$13.6 billion to increase its coverage by approximately 60 kilometers throughout Hong Kong and into Southern China. New railway projects include: West Island Line, South Island Line, Kwun Tong Extension, Shatin to Central Link (SCL) Phase I & II, and Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). Macau has initiated the development of a new Light Rapid Transit System. The first phase will include 20km-long track with 23 stops, is estimated to cost over US$500 million and is scheduled to start operating in end of 2011.
In May 2008, the Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports signed a framework agreement on passenger facilitation, building a foundation for further cooperation in the future. The projects envisioned include strengthening the airports’ ferry and road connections, by expanding the networks of SkyPier, the cross-boundary ferry service, and including a dedicated rail link between the two airports. The feasibility study for the railway link is underway.
The Hong Kong Airport Authority (AA) is preparing the Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) Master Plan 2030, a 20-year blueprint that entails the long-term development of HKIA. The plan includes the possibility of building a third runway at HKIA, although there is no time frame for a decision. Other plans include development of the midfield for more bridge-served parking stands, additional hangars for aircraft maintenance and also building a new air cargo terminal and 10 additional cargo stands to enhance operational efficiency and facilitate air freighter movement. However, due to a short-term decrease in cargo volume, Cathay Pacific will defer the development of its dedicated third cargo freight terminal.
With significant air traffic growth projected in Macau in the coming years, the Macau Airport Authority is planning to double the existing terminal floor space and build a cargo building of 10,000 sq. meters, of which 4,000 sq. meters will be for cargo operations and 6,000 sq. meters for logistical operations. In addition, the Macau Business Aviation Center plans to expand its business jet hangar. These projects, estimated to cost US$625 million, are expected to be implemented over the next three to eight years. However, Macau has seen a 48 percent and 20 percent drop in air cargo and aircraft movements respectively this year, reducing the pressure for the near-term expansion of facilities.
The Hong Kong Government has decided to finance the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, which is estimated to cost US$718 million, for its first berth to enter into operation in mid-2013. The Government will design and build the cruise terminal and lease the terminal hardware to an operator, while retaining ownership. The Government is developing the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal through two works contracts. The first one is the site formation works contract, which involves the construction of berthing facilities; and the second contract is for the design and build of the cruise terminal building.