De-Industrializing Kwai Tsing Container Terminal

This proposal is designed with an attempt to evaluate the challenges of the port business together with an aim to address the anticipated climatic challenges (sea level rise, storm surge and intensified typhoons), to prove that the container terminal is no longer suitable to be operated in the same location, nor other lowland area along the coast; and to provide adaptive and resilient measures for the post-port usage in order to de-industrialize the heavily mechanical site into a resilient landscape that could cope with the issue of the sea level rise in the near future.

The de-industrialization strategies involve not just the port itself but also take into consideration its adjacent planning as a whole. The boundary of this strategic plan sets along Tsuen Wan, reaching to Kwai Chung, Lai King as far as the Kowloon side. The rationale behind such an extensive planning does not only consider the influence of the foreseeable SLR scenario, which will take place in all these districts because of its relatively low elevation, but also ensure its connection to the closest neighbourhood for the sake of overcoming the existing site constraint (low pedestrian accessibility) because of the business zoning. Therefore, the de-industrialization strategies with adequate resilient SLR solutions, connection and accessibility to the site are all important considerations.

The overall planning strategy that formulates the entire site planning includes the surrounding planning plus the proposed future optimization strategies that could be incorporated into the post-port planning. The entire phasing is divided by 5-year intervals and is especially stressed in the year of 2047, which will signify the end of land lease since the handover of Hong Kong; and by the year of 2050 most of the waterfront area along Rambler Channel will very likely be flooded during storm surge, resembling the situation when the typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong in 2018.

The evaluation was made based on the port operation and business data collected from the HK External Merchandize Trade Report whereas climatic data and sea level rise projection were collected from the HK Observatory and research paper respectively.

The rise of sea level has been a global concern and definitely needs remediation. Even though the rise seems to be inevitable, a practical and precautious measure can be taken to alleviate the situation. It is known that it is unfeasible to prevent a tremendous amount of sea water from inundating the low-lying area. Therefore, the most practical option is to consider how we could prepare for this enormous amount of water before it hits us.

Meanwhile, the Kwai Tsing Container Terminal has been losing its importance in the world’s port share since the air freight business is burgeoning and thriving better than its sea freight counterpart and there is an obvious contraction of the port business. Sooner or later the current location of the port will no longer be suitable for port operation, especially when the storm surge alongside the rise in sea level rise is expected to occur in the future. As a result, it is a wise option to relocate the port and spare the current land for other constructive uses in a meticulous manner.

Not only will this large piece of land (279 ha) along the coast offer a 2-km waterfront design opportunity, but it can also be regarded as an mitigation opportunity for increasing housing supply after the constraint of neighbourhood connectivity on the site is removed. In spite of the fact that an extensive transportation network has been established along the terminal throughout the years with the hustling ground transport getting in an out every day, the site is still packed with a lot of huge machinery and an incredible amount of container trucks picking up cargos for delivery. As such, there is almost no room for outsider to reach the virtually isolated site with ease. To tackle the issue, priority shall be given to the concept of the entire strategic planning, which refers to how to re-connect the site with the surrounding environment by phasing out the de-industrialization stage by stage.

One of the design highlights is the de-industrialization strategies. It involves the revitalization work of the port in addition to the resilient strategies which is aimed at dealing with the inundation problem. On one hand, the revitalizing work, similar to the waterfront purification strategies, involves the modification of port edge as filtering edges while allowing the water to flow into the site as part of the water landscape; On the other hand, the massive highway tunnelization is adopted to let the water flows into the site and is kept on top of the covered highways and eventually an urban eco-park is established.


Project Name
De-industrializing Kwai Tsing Container Terminal
Tsuen Wan Kwai Chung District, Hong Kong
Site Area
279 ha
Post Graduate/School
The University of Hong Kong
Building Height
40 metres (with existing train station)
Post Graduate/School
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Student Name
Crystal, Kwong Kwan Ki
Master of Landscape Architecture
Ms Sunnie Lau

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