Following is the full text of the speech (English only) by the Financial Secretary, Mr Antony Leung, at the Tradeport Ground Breaking Ceremony today (October 18):
Duncan (Straughen), Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
As you may be aware, logistics is one of the priority industries for Hong Kong that we have in mind. So I was delighted to receive the invitation earlier this month to take part in today's ground-breaking ceremony.
First of all, let me join with Duncan in welcoming our visitors and investors from other countries. This is a significant occasion for us. The Tradeport Hong Kong project lays another milestone in our development of Hong Kong as the logistics hub for Asia. Indeed, it epitomizes the kind of high value-added activity we must attract to build on our sophisticated hard and soft infrastructure; to capitalise on our location as the gateway to China and, more particularly, our immediate hinterland the Pearl River Delta.
Hong Kong has always been a great centre of trade, and a strong player in logistics business. Goods from the four corners of the globe are shipped here and then dispatched to destinations all over the world. This incredible movement of cargo has made our port and airport amongst the world's busiest. And the continued development of these strategic facilities as well as the extensive network of air and sea links has given us the capacity to move more goods of a greater variety than ever before. We can move them faster and to more locations. This is a critical factor when time and speed mean the difference between filling, or failing to meet, orders in the new era of the demand and supply chain.
As the Chief Executive mentioned in his policy address last week, Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta together can develop into a logistics hub to link the Mainland with the world. New infrastructure to enhance our cross-border connections and new organisational structures to promote the concept of 'Logistics Hong Kong' are being put in place. The action re-affirms our commitment to this important element of Mr Tung's blueprint for Hong Kong's economic development. And the key to this is speeding up the flow of people, capital, information, service and cargo.
As announced by Mr Tung, we will be establishing new institutional set-ups to promote the logistics industry. I will personally chair the Steering Committee on Logistics Development. It will focus on measures to accelerate the development of the logistics industry with Hong Kong characteristics. But government alone will not be able to achieve the task. We will work closely with the private sector both in the new Logistics Development Council and other forums.
Tradeport Hong Kong is a good example of public and private sector partnership. It is also a centre-piece of the Airport Authority's initiative to turn this bustling island aviation hub into a transport and logistics centre. It will provide a wide range of logistics and supply chain management services including inventory stock management, supply distribution and specialised packing and processing. The operations will be optimised by the multi-modal transport links available on this airport island, which provide convenient connections to the Pearl River Delta and other parts of the world.
Ladies and gentlemen, today's ground-breaking ceremony does not only mark the beginning of this particular project. It is also a clear demonstration of our firm commitment to moving forward with the private sector in achieving our goals. Of course we have to continue our work on different fronts to establish our role as the logistics and transportation hub of Asia. We have to fully utilise our port and airport, our land transportation systems and our information technology to better connect into the Mainland and to the rest of the world. The focus is not just on costs. It is on increasing the speed at which we can move things.
I trust that investors in Tradeport Hong Kong share the same vision with me. Today, you must be very excited to see that this project is being taken forward from the drawing board to actual construction. I congratulate you all on the good progress being made. And I am sure that in the months and years ahead, we will continue to work together to make Hong Kong a premier logistics centre for the region, if not the world.
Thank you very much.
End/Thursday, October 18, 2001