Boosting Hong Kong's competitiveness as an international trade and shipping centre

There is no doubt that we are well connected internationally but we should not overlook the importance of enhancing our connectivity with the Mainland and maintaining our pivotal role as a gateway to Southern China. Cross - boundary freight transport forms an integral part of Hong Kong's logistics operations, with approximately 70 per cent of the cargo handled by Hong Kong's port and airport related to Southern China.

In line with the general direction of the 12th Five - Year Plan to further consolidate and enhance Hong Kong's competitive advantages as an international centre for trade and shipping, our government must be more proactive in pushing forward relevant initiatives. Hong Kong should make use of its first mover advantages in building critical mass to enhance the service platform that has already been built so that more people will use it which will in turn create more job opportunities for the community.

Our industry faces many problems, including land scarcity, work force shortage, high operating costs and fierce competition from neighboring cities. We need more permanent sites and port back - up land for container storage and cargo handling. Construction of infrastructure such as the Hong Kong - Zhuhai - Macau Bridge, the third airport runway, and the logistics park must be expedited.

The government must also formulate medium - and long-term plans for shipping and logistics development, strengthen talent training and retention, attract new talent, facilitate R&D to enhance the efficiency of container handling and customs clearance, simplify the declaration system to facilitate transshipment trade, and promote co-operation with the Mainland and overseas countries on shipping and logistics.

During my next four years in the Legislative Council, I will liaise with our peers in the sector and carefully examine the problems faced by various trades in our sector and take the lead in relaying them to the government in order to strive for a better business environment and a more sustainable development path for the industry.