Hong Kong Seaport Alliance (HKSPA) reported growth in its cold chain market.
In a statement, it said by simply leveraging on Hong Kong’s location to support fruit businesses tapping into the growing mainland China market, more than US$3 billion worth of fresh produce are now arriving at HKSPA’s terminals annually where around 60% is then transported onward to Mainland China.
HKSPA said Hong Kong is now widely recognised as the port of choice for fruit shipments across the border.
"Through the deployment of more than 7,800 reefer points, twice the capacity of other terminals in South China – and its high levels of efficiency and productivity, HKSPA expedites every container of fruit through its facilities to enable the freshest delivery to market," it said.
HKSP said today, consignees can collect shipments immediately after discharge and be on their way within 15 minutes. It said Shenzhen, which is an hour away, is one of the world’s largest fruit outlets. Guangzhou’s Jiangnan Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Market, is also just four hours by road.
For large or less time-sensitive shipments, shippers may choose the Hong Kong-Nanhai Reefer Express 17-hour barge service to get their fruit consignments to market.
"It is this level of service that makes Hong Kong the main gateway to Mainland China for fruit shipments. Trends in cool chain demand: With fruit imports into the Mainland forecast to grow 55% by 2025, there are currently no limits to the potential of this burgeoning market," HKSPA said.
The HKSPA noted that, in particular, it is catering to Mainland Chinese consumers’ growing taste for Thai durian by offering 30 weekly calls connecting Thailand and Hong Kong.
As a result, it said durian shipments from this Southeast Asian nation grew 35% year-on-year during the first eight months of 2020. Concurrently, over 80% of Chilean cherries imported by Mainland China arrived via Hong Kong - and volumes are rising.
HKSPA also achieved a healthy 8% growth during the cherry season of 2019/20 (Dec 2019 to May 2020) by providing the fastest transit time of 22 days from South American cities of Valparaiso and San Antonio.