Revising Hong Kong’s midstream operation: A discussion on the Port Feeder Barge concept
Midstream operation (MSO) has played an important role in Hong Kong's port business since the 1960s. MSO has been seriously neglected in maritime transport research in the past. In the course of filling this significant research gap, we aim to address how a new type of harbor vessel – Port Feeder Barge (PFB) can strengthen the sustainability and attractiveness of MSO in Hong Kong and of the port in general. By introducing such type of vessel MSO becomes much safer and faster, much more efficient with less manpower being needed, provides higher flexibility and causes less environmental impact compared to the traditional Hong Kong midstream barges (HK barges). Due to its special layout as a deck carrier the PFB is also very well suited to be optionally fuelled with Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which would result into an ultimate "green" harbor vessel. Semi-structured, in-depth interviews with a number of maritime professionals involved in MSO activities in Hong Kong have revealed how PFBs could be employed in MSO, the potential regulatory issues and operating challenges and the critical success factors for further PFB deployment in the Asia-Pacific region. The study provides insights how the PFB could provide notable advantages for a sustainable recovery of MSO in Hong Kong.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.