A little more than a decade ago, Hong Kong was the world’s busiest port. Giant vessels competed to get into the city’s berths, waiting to load and unload containers filled with goods manufactured just over the border in China’s factory towns. Back then, Hong Kong still expected that its freewheeling commercial culture could change China for the better. And trading — accounting for almost 25 percent of the city’s economy — seemed like just the industry to lead the way.
Now those expectations are colliding with reality. Last week, the local government reported that cargo flowing through Hong Kong dropped by 13.8 percent in 2015, capping a dismal year in which the city’s port declined to the world’s fifth-busiest, dropping behind one-time also-rans Shanghai and Shenzhen. It’s likely to get worse: Last year, Deutsche Bank predicted that the volume of cargo moving through Hong Kong will decline by as much as 50 percent over the next decade.
That is from Adam Minter.