THE Marine Department and the Port Development Board (PDB), which are closely monitoring the development of southern China ports, believe they are no threat to Hongkong, says Director of Marine Tony Miller. Speaking to reporters after his speech at a Hongkong Shipowners Association luncheon, he said: ''I have said before regarding container facilities across the border in the delta, [they are] complementary rather than competitive. ''The PDB and ourselves are keeping close touch with operators of various ports in the delta, including Shekou and Yantian, and we know what their rough programme of development is and they know what ours is.'' He pointed out that the speed and scale of development in Guangdong in southern China was ''enormous'', and the volume of goods being exported from the area through Hongkong was ''tremendous''. ''And I have no doubt by the time we exhaust our development opportunities in Hongkong - that's about the years 2006 to 2011 - we will need more facilities in southern China,'' Mr Miller said. He said Hongkong had its industrial revolution over 20 years while Guangdong was doing it in half that time. ''If we see growth continuing at the present rate, then they [China] will need their own dedicated facilities on that side of the river,'' he said. Any delay in the construction of container Terminal 9 would hurt Hongkong port, said Mr Miller. He added that Terminal 10 would be needed six months ahead of the originally planned mid-1997 due to the massive container throughput growth over the past two years. Earlier, in his speech, Mr Miller said fewer Hongkong young people were turning to the sea for a career as the salary and conditions were not as attractive as shore-based jobs. Some argued that the Government could do more by way of improved training facilities, but this was flawed logic, he said. He defended the Government as having done more than young people had demanded from courses at various levels. More funding would not attract more young people if they did not want to go to sea, he said. Mr Miller said the industry had to look for new sources of supply, like crews from the Polish Merchant Marine Academies at Gdynia and Szczecin which the department recognised last year. He also welcomed the recent initiative by Hongkong Polytechnic to develop a new degree course, specifically aimed at training young Hongkong people for the service end of the business. Mr Miller said the public sector also faced a similar challenge and had to compare future job requirements with current qualifications. ''If existing qualifications are so narrow that they exclude otherwise suitable candidates with qualifications in related fields, then the solution may be to broaden - not lower - the base qualifications, and to provide any more specialist training required in-service, as part of a new and more attractive career structure,'' he said. He admitted that this sort of restructuring was sensitive and would require close consultation with all parties concerned.