The new Hengqin Port was supposed to have opened on December 20, the same day as Macau’s 20th anniversary celebrations, but it appears that it will be ready only sometime in the first quarter. Macau’s new Secretary for Administration and Justice, Andre Chong, announced that work on the new facility was ongoing, and specific legislation still needs to be passed by the Legislative Assembly to govern how the Macau side of the port will be operated.
The good news is, however, that the Macau government is already planning to license tourist buses to go across the Lotus Bridge and pick up passengers there once the port is ready. It was not made clear whether this includes shuttle buses operated by the Macau casinos, or only coaches run by tourist agencies. The current situation at the Macau side of the Hong Kong-Macao-Zhuhai Bridge (HZMB) has two joint-service shuttles to take visitors to designated spots (at the two ferry terminals) for transfer to casino shuttles, while non-casino tour buses run freely.
The current single shuttle bus running between Hengqin and the existing Macau immigration facility at the Macau side of the Lotus Bridge is obviously not going to be good enough once the new Hengqin Port opens, as its new high-speed railway station will bring in a flood of new arrivals. The question is only whether the casinos will be able to run their own shuttles or will be forced to share a publicly run service. The new problem-plagued LRT system has not yet been extended out to the Hengqin Port, so buses are the only mode of transport for the foreseeable future.