Mainland China's accession to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) will help Hong Kong develop into an Asian logistics hub, particularly in the airfreight business, Jardine Logistics president Vincent Wong says. He notes that Boeing has predicted the airfreight industry globally was expected to grow at 6.3 per cent per annum over the next 20 years, thrice the speed of passenger traffic growth. 'Changes in the supply chain are going to create substantial growth in airfreight,' he said. In anticipation of the huge increase in the high-end air cargo business, Jardine Logistics and others have formed the Tradeport Hong Kong Consortium to bid for the Hong Kong airport logistics centre project planned by the Airport Authority. Other consortium members include Hongkong Land, China National Aviation Co (CNAC), Frankfurt Airport and the Schiphol Group, which have a combined net worth of about HK$56 billion. A decision on the winning bid is expected to be made by January. 'We have a strong consortium that can provide everything in-house to make the facility a success,' Mr Wong said, adding that the consortium partners had an existing customer base from the United States, Europe and Asia. Hongkong Land Infrastructure managing director Duncan Straughen said the consortium partners would combine their individual strengths and network to turn Hong Kong into an Asian logistics hub that would be significant in global terms. Based on its property development experience, Hongkong Land will provide project management services and proper contract control to the consortium. 'Basically, Hongkong Land will be responsible for getting the project off the ground on time,' Mr Straughen said. Jardine Logistics group vice- president Lawrence Taylor said the consortium had chosen a software package, 'Exceed 4000', that could provide connectivity between the logistics centre and the customer. The consortium would result in a greater accuracy by going for the highest level of technology, as the sector demanded it, Mr Taylor said. The same software programme is currently being used at Jardine Logistics. When goods leave the logistics centre, there will be a smart tracking system that could inform the cargo owner of the cargo's status at any time, Mr Taylor said. CNAC executive director Thomas Tsang, said its main contribution to the consortium was its contacts, links and relationship in the aviation and aviation- related business, including ground handling. CNAC's parent, the CNAC Group, represents all Chinese airlines and Dragonair's 70 flights daily from the mainland to Hong Kong International Airport. Frankfurt Airport representative Stephen Miller, said the logistics centre would be a common user facility for shippers, forwarders, express distributors, and third party and fourth party logistics providers. The facility would deal with high-end and hi-tech products such as computers and parts, telecommunications, medical technical products, spare parts, luxury goods, textiles and garments, and pharmaceuticals. The Hong Kong consortium acquired its name from the Tradeport Frankfurt facility that had been in operation for eight years. Mr Miller said the Tradeport Hong Kong Consortium, which would be an independent company, would provide services of the same quality and standards provided by Tradeport Frankfurt. The consortium would also provide full supply chain management services to customers, he said. It is learnt that the consortium is studying the feasibility of establishing a number of logistics facilities in China using the Tradeport brand-name as well in the near future. Mr Miller said attracting logistics business to Hong Kong would be greatly beneficial to the SAR, as most major companies preferred to have their head offices or regional offices in the place where they conduct their business.