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Speech by SCED at GS1 Hong Kong SCM Excellence Conference (English only)(with photo)

    Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr Frederick Ma, at the GS1 Hong Kong Supply Chain Management Excellence Conference 2007 this morning (October 12)  (English only):

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good morning! I am very pleased to be here to address you at this GS1 Hong Kong Supply Chain Management Excellence Conference 2007.

     Hong Kong's success as a logistics hub makes it an unparalleled supply-chain base. Located at the centre of a global and multi-modal network of cargo and transport routes by land, sea and air, Hong Kong offers maximum choice, flexibility and efficiency in supply-chain management.

     Our award-winning, state-of-the-art Hong Kong International Airport is the world's busiest international air-cargo hub. Last year, the airport handled 3.58 million tonnes of cargo. Meanwhile, on the maritime side, Hong Kong's port is one of the busiest in the world and saw a record-high throughput of 23.5 million TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) of containers last year.

     The proximity of Hong Kong to the fast-growing markets of the Mainland of China - in particular the dynamic Pearl River Delta region - creates a powerful platform for cross-boundary logistics. Hong Kong is also an important gateway to Mainland China.  Last year, about 19% of the Mainland's foreign trade, including re-exports, is handled via Hong Kong, making it a key player in the global supply chain. The implementation of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) seals Hong Kong's economic partnership with the Mainland and firmly established Hong Kong's role as the premier gateway for international investors in China.
     To maintain Hong Kong's position as Asia's premium logistics hub, and to drive for excellence in logistics, information connectivity along the supply chain is as important as physical connectivity. The Digital 21 Strategy is the blueprint for the development of information and communications technology (ICT) in Hong Kong.  I would like to highlight two major action areas in the latest strategy that are most relevant to today's theme.

     Firstly, the Government is committed to promoting and supporting advanced technology by fostering the research and development of innovative works and at facilitating their wider application and commercialisation in the increasingly digital economy.

     In 2004, the Government established a Guangdong/Hong Kong Technology Co-operation Funding Scheme. This funding scheme aims to enhance the level of collaboration on R&D between organisations in Hong Kong and Guangdong Province. Between 2004 and 2006, the Government has invested HK$331 million to support a total of 85 projects.  Among these, seven projects are related to the use of Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, which is fast becoming a key enabler in the global logistics industries.  GS1HK's "Hong Kong EPCnetwork" is one of such projects supported under the Scheme.

     Secondly, as a trading and services economy with an international clientele, effective communication and responsiveness to changing market conditions is of paramount importance in a competitive environment. This is particularly relevant to Hong Kong given the fact that most of our companies are SMEs. Connectivity can be significantly improved through the development of an ICT-enabled common platform to support our financial and trading infrastructure. The Government has established channels to cooperate with Mainland authorities and Guangdong Province on innovation, information management and the development of technology standards.

     To create a framework for engaging in a constructive partnership with the private sector in charting logistics development, the Government formed the Hong Kong Logistics Development Council (LogsCouncil) in 2001. Five project groups have been set up under the council to develop and implement work programmes for physical infrastructure, information connectivity, human resource development, support for SMEs, and marketing and promotion.

     At the Guangdong Province level, the Hong Kong/Guangdong Expert Group on Co-operation in Informatisation, or the EGCI for short, was formed under the aegis of the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference. The leading agencies of the Expert Group are the Department of Information Industry of Guangdong Province and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer of Hong Kong. Among the nine major areas of co-operation, we have set up a working group to further take forward the work on promoting the use of RFID in logistics, customs clearance and quarantine. This working group closely collaborates with our Guangdong counterpart, and with the relevant bureaus and departments and logistics industries in Hong Kong, to promote the adoption of supply-chain management technologies in both Guangdong and Hong Kong.

     The Hong Kong R&D Centre for Logistics and Supply Chain Management Enabling Technologies, or LSCM Centre for short, was set up in April last year. The LSCM Centre is targeted at fostering the development of core competencies in applied R&D in logistics and supply-chain technologies. It also facilitates the adoption of these technologies by industries in Hong Kong and on the Mainland to enhance their competitiveness.

     Backed by the Innovation and Technology Fund, the LSCM Centre administers and funds R&D projects, and collaborates with other important industry bodies in organising activities for the logistics industry. Following the success of last year's event, the 2007 Guangdong-Hong Kong RFID Summit was held in Guangdong last month. The summit fostered the ongoing partnership between Hong Kong and Guangdong in promoting and facilitating RFID adoption.

     The HKSAR Government has endeavoured to develop the necessary physical infrastructure by building new transport links. For example, both the HK-Shenzhen Western Corridor and Shenzhen Bay Port commenced operation in July, while the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line opened in August.  

     With regard to electronic infrastructure, the Digital Trade and Transportation Network System (DTTN), launched in 2005, provides an open, neutral and secure electronic platform for logistics players to exchange information in an efficient, reliable and low-cost manner. In June this year, the LogsCouncil also commissioned a pilot project for an On-Board Trucker Information System (OBTIS) to provide an information and communications technology platform which helps enhance connectivity between the truckers and their customers along the supply chain, and improve efficiency in fleet management.

     While the Government formulates policies and strategies, as well as establishes institutional and collaborative arrangements, we need your support to amplify and deepen the effect. We need to sustain the synergy between the public and the private sectors in maintaining Hong Kong's position as the preferred logistics hub in the region.

     I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude for GS1HK's contribution in establishing the Supply Chain Innovation Centre jointly with the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation earlier this year.  As you may well be aware, the centre was created to provide a hub for supply-chain and logistics experts in order to facilitate the transfer of knowledge on global supply-chain enabling technologies.

     I am pleased to see such a rich programme and distinguished line-up of speakers in today's conference.  I am sure you will take inspiration from it in striving for excellence in the many areas of supply-chain management.  Thank you.

Ends/Friday, October 12, 2007
Issued at HKT 10:38


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