1924 Report on the Commercial Development of the Port of Hong Kong

Hugh Farmer: Tymon Mellor has sent a “Report on the Commercial Development of the Port of Hongkong by John Duncan, M. Inst. C.E., Chartered Civil Engineer, Port Engineer, Hong Kong which was laid before the Legislative Council by Command of His Excellency the Governor on 19th December 1924.”

Report on the Commercial Development of the Port of Hongkong 1924

Duncan begins by stating his remit, namely, “one of the Port Engineer’s first duties will be to prepare and submit for the consideration of the Government a complete scheme for the development of the Port.”

The report states that at the time of writing ” from such information as is available of the world’s great seaports [using data from 1920-1923] Hongkong ranks, commercially, fourth port in the Empire and tenth port in the world, whilst in the matter of tonnage it is the largest port in the world”. The latter seems astonishing, I would certainly like to see historical evidence to confirm this statistic.

The whole report is a fascinating insight into the development of Hong Kong’s harbour. And also what was thought to be needed at various locations on Hong Island and Kowloon  both in terms of immediate construction and in the longer term. It also goes into some details about China, especially railways, mineral and agricultural products and industries.

The preamble lists the leading industries in Hong Kong at that time:

Report 1924 on the development of the port of Hong Kong -preamble

The report is divided into four sections:

Section I
Preamble
Development Schemes Proposed prior to April 1924

Section II
Conditions Affecting the Provision of Wharfage
Conditions as Affecting the Extent of Wharfage
Extent of Additional Wharfage Required
Conditions Affecting the Location of Wharfage

Section III
Schemes of Development and Extent of Works Recommended for Immediate Construction
Development of the Harbour Front in General
Improvements of the Harbour Front in General

Section IV
Policy, Control, Management and Administration

This article was first posted on 16th April 2014.

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