Wai Chi SHAM

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Philosophy (MPHIL)



First Advisor

Dr. Chi Pang LAU

Second Advisor

Dr. Shuk Wah POON


The Hongkong and Yaumati Ferry Company Limited (HYF) was established by a group of Chinese merchants in 1923. Among the companies who got licences to operate the ferry service in the early days, the HYF is the only company that could provide the performance that satisfied the original goals of the Government for regulating the ferry service. Due to these reasons, the Government had confidence in HYF and was willing to grant more licences to it to operate both passenger and vehicular ferry services.

The threat that the Government would build the Cross Harbour Tunnel anytime since 1950s unexpectedly contributed to a golden period for the HYF until the 1970s. The expansion and improvement of ferry services that the HYF adopted for facing the possible challenges from the Cross Harbour Tunnel eventually made the HYF the world’s largest local ferry company and facilitated both urban and rural development in Hong Kong. Unfortunately, due to the rapid development in Hong Kong, the service provided by the HYF was not capable of satisfying the increasing market demand. This led to the Government decision to build the Cross Harbour Tunnel and Mass Transit Railway in the 1970s, which to a great extent led to the decline of the HYF.

This thesis focuses on analyzing the history of the development of the HYF from 1923 to the 1970s. Through analyzing Government policies toward the ferry service, and of the HYF in different periods, it shows how the HYF developed from a small Chinese-owned company to be the major public utility in Hong Kong. It also tries to analyze how social, urban and rural development in Hong Kong, and Government’s policies on urban and rural planning, affected the development of HYF.

Recommended Citation

Sham, W. C. (2007). The history of Hong Kong and Yaumati Ferry Company limited, 1923 to the 1970s (Master's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from

Included in

History Commons