The priorities for Hong Kong's logistics industry in the battle against regional rivals should be better information technology (IT), an improved regulatory structure and an emphasis on developing better-prepared professionals for the sector. Above all, the industry can do with improved communication between its players, argues Almon Yu, chief executive of Sun Hung Kai Super Logistics, operators of the air freight forwarding centre at Chek Lap Kok. The topic is timely as the Government-sponsored Logistics Development Council (LDC) of industry leaders searches for ways to maintain the SAR's lead. Last week, the council's e-logistics committee said it was sponsoring a further study to pin down the specifics of what electronic infrastructure was needed, as outlined in the HK$40 million McClier Report completed last year. 'Hong Kong's success has always been built on the investment and the public investment of infrastructure, which I support. But on the other hand, it has to be in a co-ordinated way,' Mr Yu said. 'I think we do need IT, just as we need proper regulations to improve the professionalism of some of the industry and human resources initiatives, as we need a lot more professional logisticians. These three to me are the top priorities. 'People have to add value to the supply chain, otherwise those sectors or those services will be eliminated.' The Government had to pull the industry together into the arena of communication. 'I am sure that we have all this talent, but the challenge is whether we can work together more towards the interests of the shipping public, rather than purely look at it from the self-interest angle,' Mr Yu said. He explained that part of Hong Kong's problem was the speed at which new airports became outmoded, especially in the face of newcomers such as Seoul's Incheon or Guangzhou's Baiyun Airport, due for completion in 2005. 'Remember [Chek Lap Kok] was planned back in the early '90s. At that time, nobody knew too much about logistics, or even cared, since the figures were good and the projections were great. There were no worries about volume and competition and external threats and so on. So it was planned and built in the traditional way,' Mr Yu said. 'But now it has got to compete with these new airports, which are being built in a contemporary way, with integrated facilities and so on. 'To catch up, we within the airport community have to try to work with each other, rather than against each other. Hong Kong already enjoys the volume, no one can beat Hong Kong as far as volume is concerned. But now it is all about how to sustain that volume and to benefit from the economies of scale. 'Someone has to balance and co-ordinate everyone's interests. We have many parties in the airport, and everyone has their own vested interests to consider.' Mr Yu acknowledged that this was easier said than done and required a significant attitude shift from industry participants who were natural competitors. 'To arrange for people to sit down and talk is quite easy. But whether they can leave behind their vested interests for a second is the question,' he said. 'Everyone has very different interests to look after. Just like the 40 different parties sitting together in the LDC; they all have their own interests. 'But if everybody represents just his own organisation and tries to maximise his own benefits, the whole thing is not going to work, right? 'That is why I think that if we don't make communication happen at the airport, there is very little chance we can make it in the LDC. 'That is not to say that I don't agree with the LDC strategy. But what I do not want to see is meetings after meetings to talk about policies and so on but, at the end of the day, have a lack of deliverables.'