At 11 pm every night since July, customs officers at the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge begin inspecting carts of fresh vegetables, aquatic products and other agricultural goods being exported to Hong Kong.
Exports of agricultural products through the port of the bridge have increased significantly over the past month, thanks to the implementation of a program enabling fresh food to be supplied to Hong Kong and Macao through the bridge at designated times.
According to the program, which took effect on July 1, fresh food from the Chinese mainland, including aquatic products, meat, eggs, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, is usually exported to the two special administrative regions through the port of the bridge at night.
The value of the exports of agricultural products through the port of the mega span reached 580 million yuan ($80.44 million) in July, an increase of 14.2 percent year-on-year, according to data from customs authorities on the bridge.
"The logistical advantages through the bridge have helped to ensure freshness and lowers the cost of our vegetables being exported to Hong Kong," said Huang Jinbo, general manager of Zhuhai Yiyuan Import& Export.
The company, based in Zhuhai, a coastal city in western Guangdong province, is mainly engaged in processing vegetables and shipping them to Hong Kong and Macao. Prior to the implementation of the night-shift transportation program, the company's business mainly targeted the Macao market.
However, its export volume of vegetables supplied to Hong Kong has also steadily increased since July, according to Huang.
"The price of vegetables, along with time and shipping costs, would be less competitive in the Hong Kong market if they were transported from Zhuhai to the special administrative region through the port of Shenzhen," he said.
In response to the urgent need for fresh food to quickly clear customs, the bridge authorities have taken a series of measures to improve regulatory efficiency.
"Based on previous regulatory experiences, we have opened up a green channel for fresh food, with dedicated personnel coordinating customs clearance and inspection, to achieve zero delays," said Ye Yingqiong, head of the fourth supervision department of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Customs, which is under the jurisdiction of Gongbei Customs in Zhuhai.
The port of the world's longest sea-crossing bridge, which opened in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in October 2018, has become the main port for people sending goods from the western bank of the Pearl River to Hong Kong, according to Ye.
Local customs authorities have encouraged enterprises to take advantage of the bridge's early declaration program to ensure a fast inspection and release of goods, Ye said.