Hong Kong Radio Television
said striking dockworkers are expected to return to the bargaining table on Thursday for a fifth day of talks after little progress was made in resolving a dispute with subcontractors at the port.
"Striking dock workers and port contractor Everbest held eight hours of talks at the Labour Department offices in Kwai Hing on Tuesday, but little progress was reported," it said. "The workers initially demanded a pay increase of more than 20 percent. However, they have indicated they're willing to negotiate, though they won't accept less than a double-digit increase."
The dockworkers have directed strikes against contractors doing work at the Hongkong International Terminal (HIT), which is part of Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH).
Reporting its first quarter results earlier this week, Hutchison said the strikes, which began March 28, "have disrupted normal terminal operations at HIT. While the dispute has not been resolved, terminal operations are gradually returning to normal."
It said it "believes that the disruption to HIT's terminal operations has not had a material adverse impact on the performance of HPH Trust."
Year-to-date, Hutchison said throughput at its terminals "was in line with last year, despite slower transshipment growth in Hong Kong and continued weakness in the EU (European Union)."
Hutchison had first quarter profit of 642 million Hong Kong dollars ($82.7 million), 6.5 percent less than in the same 2012 period. First quarter 2012 revenue was 2.87 billion Hong Kong dollars, 1.1 percent higher than a year earlier.
The company handled 2.87 million TEUs at its terminals in Hong Kong and 2.41 million TEUs at Yantian International Container Terminal (YICT) in Shenzhen.
While the total containers handled was about the same as in the first quarter of 2012, HPH noted "the container throughput of HIT decreased by 7.4 percent, as compared to the same quarter in 2012, primarily due to weaker than expected transshipment and EU cargoes. The container throughput of YICT increased by 6.3 percent, as compared to the same quarter in 2012, primarily due to the growth in transshipment, empty and non-U.S./EU cargoes. The average revenue per TEU for Hong Kong was about the same as last year, whereas that for China was lower than last year due to output value-added tax (VAT) as a result of Shenzhen VAT reform effective from November 1, 2012." - Chris Dupin