By Zhao Zhanhui, People’s Daily
The new Hengqin Port in Zhuhai, south China’s Guangdong province, is expected to be available for operation by Dec.20, 2019.Relevant executives disclosed the news on Dec.11 when the construction project of the new Hengqin Port and an integrated transportation hub was first introduced to the press.
Zhuhai city and the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) will jointly decide the official opening date of the new port after relevant approvals and legal procedures are completed.
The customs inspection building and the transportation platform on the south and north side of the building cover an area of 450,000 square meters, which is equivalent to the combined area of 63 soccer fields, according to Li Qizhi, project manager of China Construction Second Engineering Bureau Ltd., general construction contractor of the project.
It is expected that the daily crossings at the Hengqin Port will reach up to 222,000 once the new port begins operation and the new port is capable of handling 80 million passenger trips in a year, said Li, adding that the new port will make travel and exchanges between Zhuhai and Macao more convenient.
The new Hengqin Port will adopt a new customs clearance mode featuring joint inspection and one-stop clearance, disclosed Li, explaining that the new mode will enable passengers to pass the customs simply by getting through the joint inspection at three turnstiles.
The first turnstile is for the inspection of traffic permit information, the second turnstile is for verification of fingerprint and facial recognition, and the third turnstile is for information verification by the Macao side, according to Li.
Sufficient self-service channels will also help enhance the convenience of passing the customs. “Passing the customs through self-service channels can help people get to Macao from Zhuhai in one minute if everything is handled smoothly,” said Wang Yan, deputy director of the reform and development bureau of the management committee of Hengqin New Area.
Besides the functions of a port, the new Hengqin Port and the integrated transportation hub, which cover an area of about 1.31 million square meters and involve various kinds of infrastructure construction tasks, also serve as an integrated distribution hub and a city services provider.
The construction of the project includes a variety of smaller projects and diversified jobs, such as the construction of the customs joint inspection building, U-type ramp of the overpass, municipal roads, underground utility tunnels and the reconstruction of the Lotus Bridge.
Hengqin Island in Zhuhai faces Macao SAR across the river, with the closest distance between the two sides being less than 200 meters. The island is located 34 nautical miles from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The Zhuhai section of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge extends directly to Hengqin Island, making the area by far the only pilot free trade zone connecting Chinese mainland with Hong Kong and Macao by both road and bridge.
Because of its distinctive geographical position, the development of Hengqin also has significant influence on that of Hong Kong and Macao. It is believed that the new Hengqin Port will serve well the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.
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