Dockyards of Hong Kong
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Dockyard Development after the Second World War

Hong Kong’s dockyards and factories were severely damaged during the Japanese occupation, and by 1946 the city’s shipbuilding industry had only returned to 30% to 40% of its pre-war scale. Meanwhile, the United Nations imposed embargo on China, coupled with the emigration of Shanghai industrialists into Hong Kong, gradually shifted the focus of Hong Kong’s economy from the entrepôt trade to exports and the processing industries. Overseas sales of products helped fuel the recovery of the city’s shipping and shipbuilding industries. In late 1959, the Naval Yard closed down and the land was reclaimed from the dock in Central to build Harcourt Road and ease traffic congestion between Central and Eastern District. The Kowloon Naval Yard on Canton Road in Tsim Sha Tsui was converted into the Government Dockyard, which carried out repairs of government vessels, while merchant ships continued to be built and repaired at Whampoa Dock in Kowloon and Taikoo Dockyard on Hong Kong Island.

In the 1970s, when the container port in Kwai Chung went into operation and economic reforms and the open-door policy were implemented in mainland China, Hong Kong’s shipping industry entered a golden age. The city’s shipbuilding and repair industry enjoyed new opportunities, but soaring wages and competition elsewhere led Hong Kong’s dockyards to shift the focus of their business to vessel conversion, inspection and repair services. In addition, the shortage of land in Hong Kong and the rapid development of the property sector prompted Whampoa Dock and Taikoo Dockyard to redevelop their sites in Hung Hom and Quarry Bay into commercial and residential properties – Whampoa Garden and Taikoo Shing. The two companies then merged their dockyard businesses into Hongkong United Dockyards in 1972 and relocated to Tsing Yi Island.


  • View of Taikoo Dockyard after air raids by allied forces

  • Wharf in Central after Second World War

  • Bird's-eye view of Whampoa Dock (1)

  • British forces reclaimed Naval Yard