Starting from 1 April 1999, most of the ferry services are provided by licensed ferry operators. There are now 11 ferry operators providing 18 licensed passenger ferry services to outlying islands and across the Harbour as at 1 July 2014. Still, there remains two franchised ferry services operated by "Star" Ferry plying between Central and Tsim Sha Tsui as well as between Wan Chai and Tsim Sha Tsui.

The licensed and franchised ferry services are supplemented by "kaitos" which are licensed to serve remote coastal settlements.

In 2010, ferry passengers amounted to 49 million.

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