All the angst and acrimony which accompanied Sino-British negotiations over the ninth container terminal (CT9) seems a distant memory, now that construction work has finally started. Better still, so do the worst moments of the recent recession. Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen painted a rosy picture of the future when he presided over yesterday's ceremony. He was perhaps entitled to be upbeat after the dismal forecasts that have overshadowed the terminal issue ever since the handover. When signs of economic recovery are so positive that the ultra-cautious Mr Tsang hints at upgrading his growth forecasts before the year's end, it is fair to assume that Hong Kong's future as a leading container port is assured. Past worries that the SAR's high charges would allow the burgeoning terminal industry over the border to lure shipping away have faded. It helps that owners of local terminals are far-sighted enough to have acquired major stakes in many mainland ports. While they are keen to develop their mainland terminals, they also have a vested interest in ensuring mainland goods continue to be shipped through local berths. Despite rapid progress on the mainland, it appears that for many more years only Hong Kong will offer the full range of infrastructure, banking and insurance services the industry needs. Many shipping companies use this port because it allows freight to be transferred to another line and sent on its way immediately. In less developed locations, cargoes can be held up as they wait for places on another vessel sailing to the right destination. As trade increases round the globe, even conservative estimates indicate there will be enough business to keep CT9 at full stretch. Yet staying in the prime position may be a different matter, and CT9 may be the last terminal built here. It costs $3 billion to construct a terminal in the SAR, against $1.3 billion on the mainland. The Disney venture has claimed the bay earmarked for CT10, with other sites involving huge infrastructure costs. That might make it difficult to persuade private investors to take the risk. Moreover, Hong Kong lags behind Singapore in setting up logistics parks. The Government could do a great deal more to hasten development of this vital industry to help maintain the SAR's hub status.