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Speech by SEDL at signing ceremony of DHL Ccentral Asia Hub
Expansion (English only)

Following is the speech (English only) by the Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, Mr Stephen Ip, at signing ceremony of DHL Central Asia Hub Expansion today (October 6):

Mr Price, Dr Pang, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be here today to witness the signing ceremony of the expansion of DHL Central Asia Hub.  It was only a year ago when I witnessed the opening of this custom-built express cargo terminal.  I am glad to see that DHL has decided expressly to double its investment in this very successful project.  

DHL's decision to expand its Asia Hub in Hong Kong reflects a vote of confidence by the business community in Hong Kong's strength as an aviation superhub and a regional logistics centre.  It is also the result of a successful partnership between the worldˇ¦s largest express cargo integrator, our world-class airport, and the large number of airlines that operate in Hong Kong.  We are the world's busiest airport for international air cargo, and we are proud of the quality of our services, as our airport has been named the "Most Friendly Airport for Cargo" by the Federation of Asia Pacific Aircargo Associations.    

Successful operation of an air cargo hub depends on the support of efficient flight connections to a large number of destinations worldwide, which in turn hinges on the availability of ample traffic rights to enable airlines to expand their network and add services promptly to meet market demand.  In this respect, I am pleased to say that after years of sustained efforts, we have established an extensive network of air services arrangements with our major aviation partners.  We will continue to liberalise our air services regime.  The substantial expansion of our air services arrangement with the Mainland in the last two years has strengthened our position as the premier gateway to the Mainland market.

That said, we also need a modern and efficient airport.  In this respect, I would like to commend the Airport Authority on its efforts in continuously upgrading our airport facilities.  In support of the rapid growth in air cargo, we have just added four new cargo parking stands and the Authority is now planning for the next phase of cargo apron expansion.  Other new developments underway include the Asia World-Expo, the SkyPlaza ˇV our second terminal cum inter-modal transport interchange; as well as the SkyPier II ˇV our new cross-boundary ferry terminal.  All these new facilities will strengthen HKIA's competitiveness and provide an environment conducive to the continuing development of our aviation industry.

DHL's successful operation at HKIA has proved that they made the right decision in establishing their Central Asia Super Hub in Hong Kong.  Their decision today to invest another US$110 million in Hong Kong would make their Central Asia Super Hub the largest amongst their six express cargo hubs in the Asia Pacific Region.  I am sure that DHL will find this new investment equally rewarding and I wish DHL every success in their future operations in Hong Kong.    

Thank you.

Ends/Thursday, October 6, 2005
Issued at HKT 19:23


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