Ferry Services and the British Colonial Governance in Hong Kong

The history of Hong Kong ferry services began with the establishment of the colony of the British Empire in the Hong Kong Island since the Treaty of Nanking (29 August 1842). When the colony extended to the Kowloon Peninsular (located at the opposite side of the Victoria Harbour) and the New Territories, ferry services connecting different parts of Hong Kong became an essential part of the colonial government to maintain effective control over the scattered areas separated by the waters. Indeed, before the emergence of the metro systems and the establishment of harbor-crossing tunnel in the 1970s that led to its dramatic decline, the ferry system was the foundation of public transport in Hong Kong; other land transportation means were all supplementary to the passenger boats. Hitherto, only a handful of historical research, however, touches upon some factual developments of this important element of transportation. Many important issues related to the ferry services, such as colonial governance, micro-politics of the outlying islands, the self-identity of the island dwellers and the colonial government’s experiences of controlling the local inhabitants of the outlying islands were never seriously addressed. Understanding such deficiency, in this study, the authors adopt the concept of centre-periphery theory to explain how ferry services facilitate regional integration in Hong Kong, notably outskirt islands, and describe how people are interconnected through ferry services. Through an intensive documental review, the paper undertakes a historical review study on the evolution of the Hong Kong ferry services throughout the colonial period (1842-1997). Based on that, the authors investigate the significance of ferry services in the government regime maintenance, economic development and social welfare. Even though Hong Kong ferry slowly declined since the 1970s, the authors addressed how and why ferry services in Hong Kong was still important to keep the city intact, and also enhance the identity of the Hong Kong residents as ‘Hongkongese’.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 142-151
  • Monograph Title: Proceedings of the International Forum on Shipping, Ports and Airports (IFSPA) 2015: Empowering Excellence in Maritime and Air Logistics: Innovation Management and Technology

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01609598
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9789623677967
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Aug 8 2016 1:21PM