A scheme for free-sailing yachts journeying between Zhongshan city and Macau was officially inaugurated on Wednesday. The new scheme shortens the traveling time between the two cities to approximately 45 minutes. Customs on both sides will take altogether 10 minutes to complete all custom checking procedures.
In Zhongshan, yachts covered by the new scheme are allowed to dock only at Keppel Cove. The bay is currently under construction until all projects are completed.
The first project concerns the construction of 250 berths. A four-story border checkpoint structure has been constructed at the bay. Macau is providing 120 berths.
The local government chose a wharf located in Coloane to establish the berthing areas for the scheme.
Yachts travelling between the two cities are now required to apply for a permit 48-hours ahead of their arrival in Macau.
The Macao Customs Service also requires documents from both the yachts and the passengers in order to obtain permission to enter Macau.
Macau regulates that each boat carries a maximum of 20 people. Boats cannot berth elsewhere when traveling between the two cities, and passengers cannot alight midway through the journey.
Keppel Cove is planned to have over 400 berths. A total of 250 high-end residences with private berths has also been scheduled for construction at the site.
Before the official inauguration, on October 25 and 27, both cities conducted two drills.
The free yacht scheme had been postponed several times in the past, with the government initially predicting an opening date in mid-2015.
The scheme was agreed by the two regions in July 2014.