The new Hengqin Checkpoint will be put into use during the first half of this year, it was announced by Ge Changwei, director of the Guangdong Provincial Development & Reform Commission, on Jan 15.
The new checkpoint is on Huandao Road across from Legend Ponto Square and in front of the Lotus Bridge ramps. The current checkpoint is to the north and the University of Macao Hengqin Campus is across the Central Channel to the south.
Significantly, the State Council has approved the relocation of Macao's Lotus Checkpoint to the new Hengqin Checkpoint using a "Joint Inspection & One-time Release" custom clearance mode which will then have 69 jointly staffed channels. The joint inspection will cut customs clearance time to fewer than 60 seconds. Macao-bound travelers will need to queue up and have documents examined only once.
Joint automatic inspection channels of the new Hengqin Checkpoint [Photo by Li Jianshu / Zhuhai Daily]
Ge, speaking at a press conference of the 3rd Session of the 13th Guangdong Provincial People's Congress, hailed this as a great innovation and breakthrough. He added that new infrastructure for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area will enhance connections between the Pearl River Delta, Hong Kong, and Macao, and improve the outbound transport network.
For instance, he said, the Chinese mainland high-speed railway will be extended to Macao. Furthermore, the Yangtze River Delta city cluster, Hainan Free Trade Port, and Southwest China will also be reached from the Greater Bay Area by bullet trains capable of 350 kmph (217 mph) by 2025.
The construction of the new Hengqin Port and Integrated Transportation Hub began in 2016. The current port will be demolished but certain facilities reused. It is expected that daily crossings will reach 222,000 once operations commence.
As for the Integrated Transportation Hub, the underground Hengqin Port Station will connect to Macao's Light Rapid Transit. Moreover, the Zhuhai MRT has been extended to Hengqin and will then go on to Zhuhai (Jinwan) Airport.