Outer Harbour Terminal will continue to operate as normal, DSAMA clarifies

The Outer Harbour Ferry Terminal is to continue to operate as normal, the Marine and Water Bureau (DSAMA) said in a response to an inquiry from the Times.

According to DSAMA, “regarding the recent discussion on the operation of the Outer Harbour Maritime Terminal, the Marine and Water Bureau clarifies that [the Maritime Terminal] will continue to operate normally.”

This was in response to the Times’ inquiry following rumors that the government was preparing to shut down the facility due to the upcoming construction of an overpass that will connect Zone A of the new landfills and Zone B of the same urban new landfills that connects to Zone B at the side of the Macau Science Center.

Construction on this public facility was announced during the second quarter of this year and, when complete, will cross the whole waterway between the two landfills that are used by all vessels to access the Outer Harbour Maritime Terminal.

According to DSAMA, “in future, when works begin for the construction of the access between Zone A and Zone B of the New Urban Landfills, passenger vessels will still be able to navigate following safety control measures.”

Previously, the Public Construction Bureau (DSOP) announced that the main structure of the overpass will have a total length of approximately 1,550 meters, from which roughly 900 meters will be over water.

DSOP also said that the structure is planned to have four spans that will allow vessel navigation with a maximum clearance height of 130 meters.

Also responding to several questions from the Times, DSAMA said that during the construction period, which, according to DSOP, will be over approximately 1,000 working days (roughly 3 years), it is likely that there will be temporary restrictions on navigation in the area. DSAMA confirmed that such information would come “in due course and in coordination with the construction works.”

The government’s decision to opt for an overpass to link the two areas (original plans were for an underwater tunnel) prompted many doubts and questions, particularly by groups concerned about maritime passenger transportation.

Among those who expressed the most concerns were the Jetfoil Conservation Concern Group.

In an interview with the Times, the group leader Anderson Cheong said he’d received information over time that suggested a potential total partial closure of the Outer Harbour Maritime Terminal, and another person close to the operations of the terminal, who wished not to be named, said to have heard of the possibility of the terminal halting its functions and to be, in the future, used almost exclusively for DSAMA and Customs Service (SA), as well as by small tourism vessels in support of maritime tourism.

These rumors have not been confirmed at this point, with DSAMA affirming that passenger ferries will continue to operate in the future via this Terminal.

The operation of the Outer Harbour is currently concessioned to the Sociedade de Turismo e Diversões de Macau, which won a public tender in 2018 and has a concession valid for a period of eight years. The concession is due to expire in 2026.

Implications on Jetfoils resumption

One of the main concerns raised by Cheong in his conversation with the Times was about the potential halting of the operations of the ferry terminal, and this is related to the announced return of the Jetfoils trips between Macau and Hong Kong.

Cheong recalled that the Outer Harbour is the only facility that allows the docking of such type of vessels although it is not yet known when they are resuming their activity.

Cheong noted that a “closure” of the Outer Harbour would certainly represent a final blow to the hopes of seeing the Jetfoils return to the sea.

“TurboJet has been preparing the Jetfoils [to return to operation]. One of them has been recently renewed and sea-trialled but I heard that DSAMA will not allow Jetfoils to resume activity due to the ongoing construction on the fairway [related to the 4th Macau-Taipa bridge],” Cheong said.


Fourth Bridge northern section main deck completed

Construction of the still-unnamed 4th Macau-Taipa Bridge is progressing and the northern section main deck has just completed, the Public Works Bureau (DSOP) announced in a statement.

There is now only one section remaining for the whole main deck linking the Pac On area in Taipa to Zone A of the new landfills.

According to the latest update on the project made in mid-December last year by DSOP’s director Lam Wai Hou, the bridge’s full completion date has been moved from the first to the second quarter of this year (April to June).

Lam also announced that, when it commences operation, the new bridge should accommodate up to 28% of all traffic crossing between the Peninsula and Taipa Island.

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