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Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Ice maker fumes as resettling plan gets cold shoulder

Turbo Ice may be forced to close down after authorities reclaim its Tuen Mun factory site for public housing, says its operator, which is being backed by the catering industry.
Located in Lam Tei and situated at the margins of the government's land resumption plan, the 41-year-old, 50,000-square-foot factory said it may soon stop its daily supply of 800 tonnes of ice to the catering, logistics and construction industries.

It is said to produce up to 40 percent of the daily edible ice in the city and dominates 30 percent of the market for industrial ice, with more than 3,000 customers and annual sales exceeding HK$100 million.

The ice maker's executive director, Chan Hin-hang, said authorities have made "zero progress" on the search for potential sites for relocation and are only repeatedly asking the factory to get ready to move out.

"We cannot just cease operation ... as we serve the catering industry 365 days a year," Chan said.

"As for the building industry, there will be no ice to lower the temperature of concrete and this will affect the cost and quality of building homes."

Chan said he has asked the government if Turbo Ice can stay in its original site but has been rejected. He said the company has also looked into moving into Yuen Long InnoPark, an industry area, but the rent there is expensive and the leases short.

"We are very desperate and have no way out. We have tried hard finding suitable lands but some of their rents are too costly," Chan said. "If the government decides to resume the land, we will close down in a worst-case scenario."

Chan said more than 150 staff will be dismissed if they shutter.

The catering industry believes its closure will greatly affect businesses and the city's supply chain, said Hong Kong Federation of Restaurants and Related Trades president Simon Wong Ka-wo.

It was announced last year that 29.7 hectares of brownfield sites on San Hing Road and Hong Po Road in Tuen Mun will be used for 21,600 public housing units.

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