Call to lift spending on cargo facilities

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 13 June, 2006, 12:00am

Capital spending to bolster Hong Kong's port and air cargo facilities in the face of growing competition from the mainland needs to accelerate, government advisers said.

They stressed the importance of improving ties with the southern China hinterland, but did not specifically discuss the proposed bridge linking Hong Kong, Macau and Zhuhai, Deputy Secretary for Economic Development and Labour Janice Tse Siu-wa said after the fourth meeting of the Commission on Strategic Development's committee on economic development and economic co-operation.

'With sea cargo, members see the challenges posed by Shenzhen's port. They see the need to develop even higher value-added logistics services to strengthen our role as a logistics hub, such as e-logistics services, a virtual logistics hub and enhancing the cost-effectiveness of our cargo handling,' she said, as well as developing as a shipping register and shipping law and arbitration centre.

The government is hoping to update its 2004 master plan for port development to 2020 by the end of this year or early next year.

Miss Tse said the update would provide an indication of future cargo handling needs and the timing of construction of Container Terminal 10 in northwest Lantau.

She said committee members saw opportunities for further growth in air cargo. Hong Kong has a healthy lead in the sector, with throughput reaching a record 3.4 million tonnes last year, compared with the 1.2 million tonnes handled by Guangzhou's Baiyun airport.

As a result, the Airport Authority is spending $300 million building 10 new cargo jet berths and $496 million on extra taxiways.

The logistics industry accounted for 5.4 per cent of Hong Kong's economy in 2004, up from 4.5 per cent in 1999.