Shanghai 'no threat' to city

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 March, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 October, 2016, 5:52pm

Hong Kong has nothing to fear from Shanghai's development into an international shipping centre, as the former has a unique advantage in professional services for the industry, Hong Kong's transport minister says.

Eva Cheng said the ports of Hong Kong and Shanghai served different hinterlands and there was synergy between the two cities' maritime industries.

The secretary for transport and housing said Hong Kong's professional services to the maritime industry could help upgrade Shanghai's shipping industry to meet international standards.

The State Council announced on Wednesday that Shanghai should strive to become an international financial centre and international shipping centre, in line with the country's economic power and the growing importance of its currency, by 2020.

'An international maritime centre is more than a port handling cargo-carrying containers. Hong Kong has a well-developed cluster of professional services for maritime industry, such as legal services, insurance, financing and registration of vessels,' Ms Cheng said.

Hong Kong's port handled 24.4 million 20-foot equivalent units last year, compared with container throughput of 28 million TEUs in Shanghai.

She said there were more than 900 firms in Hong Kong that specialised in providing professional services for the maritime industry.

'Shanghai is still in the initial stage of developing professional services for maritime industry and would like to draw on the expertise of providers of such services in Hong Kong,' the minister said.

Ms Cheng, who led a mission to Shanghai on Thursday to promote Hong Kong as an international maritime centre, said Hong Kong was also known for its low taxes as well as a free flow of capital and information.

She said the Hong Kong Maritime Industry Council had been promoting the city as an international maritime centre in such cities as Shanghai, Ningbo and Dalian.

She admitted Hong Kong's maritime industry faced the problem of high operating costs, although the city excelled in efficient and value-added service.

Ms Cheng said the feasibility study for the planned development of Container Terminal 10 in Tsing Yi was expected to be completed in two years, and building the terminal would take another six or seven years.