Macau has been formally approved by the Central Government to take control of an area in the new Hengqin Port, which is due to open on December 20. This will enable visitors to pass through both mainland and Macau Customs and Immigration inside the port’s main hall, an arrangement similar to Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Railway Station.
The National People’s Congress standing committee is due to ratify the arrangement today, after it was approved by the State Council’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office. The Macau government will lease the area until the end of the SAR’s term, December 20, 2049.
The new arrangement will bring a significant improvement in the arrival experience for visitors to Macau. With immigration desks situated side by side in Hengqin, visitors will be able to cross the Lotus Bridge separating the two sides without having to disembark and pass through a second checkpoint.
It is unclear, however, whether visitors will be able to take buses directly from Hengqin to any point in Macau, or whether they must still take a shuttle bus across before changing to local transport on the Macau side of the Lotus Bridge. The Macau government has not yet clarified the details of public transport arrangements between the two sides after December 20.
It had originally been hoped that Macau’s long-delayed Light Rail Transit system would be connected directly to the new Hengqin station. It is not yet ready for operations, however, and so visitors will still need to be bussed across.