MAKING THE SWITCH
Over the past four years, more than a dozen major shipping companies have voluntarily switched to using cleaner fuel while berthed in Hong Kong, saving the city from thousands of tonnes of emissions. They made the switch under the Fair Winds Charter, a scheme initiated by Civic Exchange, the Hong Kong Liner Shipping Association and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association in 2011. The charter expires at the end of the year, so enacting legislation to require switching is the logical next step to ensure everyone takes part in controlling marine emissions, says Tung Chee-chen, chairman of shipping and logistics giant OOCL. In this way, responsible carriers won’t lose out financially. Loh predicts the government will enact such legislation by the end of the year, a move that Eastern Worldwide shipping magnate Albert Wong
enthusiastically supports and describes as having “taken too long.” Some fear the move will hurt the competitiveness of the port, with the extra cost causing vessels to bypass the Fragrant Harbour for ports in the Pearl River Delta. To prevent this, agree Shaw, Loh and Tung, it is essential for Hong Kong to work with Guangdong authorities to enforce the change across the region.