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Speech by SCED at Supply Chain Management Excellence Summit (with photo)

     Following is a speech by the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mrs Rita Lau, at the 10th GS1 Hong Kong Supply Chain Management Excellence Summit today (November 5):

Mr (Joseph) Phi, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

     Good morning!  It gives me great pleasure to join today's summit organised by GS1 Hong Kong. To our guests from overseas and the Mainland, I would also like to extend my warmest welcome and hope that you will have a most fruitful stay in Hong Kong.

     Hong Kong is one of the world's leading trade and logistics hubs. We have achieved encouraging success in the past decades because of our unique geographical position, efficient infrastructure and well-trained and highly qualified workforce. But we need to continually improve if we are to sustain our leading position. With our collective wisdom, we can surely identify areas that we can do even better. So "Revitalising our Supply Chain to Accelerate Growth" is a very timely theme for this summit.

     Our industries have vigorously adopted innovative technology to enhance supply chain efficiency and to maintain competitiveness. Technologies such as RFID and sensor networks are widely used in tracking the location and conditions of goods along efficient international supply chains. I am sure that the experts at this summit today will share how the latest technologies can enhance your company's supply chain, making it more flexible, cost-effective and responsive.

     International trade involves a network of global logistics operators, who deal with functions such as ocean shipping, air freight, land transport, warehousing, and third party logistics. Domestically, we need to make it easy for traders to connect to logistics networks. This depends on factors such as business-to-government (B2G) trade procedures, information communications technology infrastructure, and trade-related support services. Let's have a look at how Hong Kong fares in these areas.

     First, improving B2G trade procedures. Port transhipment cargoes have contributed significantly to the growth in throughput of Hong Kong in recent years. In 2009, just over 50% of throughput was accounted for by transhipment. This includes 20% of throughput that consisted of transhipment between Hong Kong and the Mainland of China. Hence there will be significant efficiency gains if transhipment cargoes can be examined just once, either when entering or when leaving Hong Kong. The Government implemented the Road Cargo System in May this year. With this system, industry stakeholders can submit electronic cargo information in advance, so that custom risk profiling can be done before trucks arrived at the land boundary. As a result, except for those cargoes selected for inspection, traders can enjoy seamless customs clearance at the land boundary. We intend to extend this approach to air-to-land transhipment in the fourth quarter of this year. Cargoes carried under this facilitation scheme will normally be examined only once. This initiative will greatly enhance Hong Kong’s position as a trade and logistics hub.

     Second, enhancing ICT infrastructure. Hong Kong has one of the most sophisticated and successful telecommunications infrastructure in the world. We have almost 100% broadband coverage, with an average access speed twice as fast as Asia's other leading port city. There are over 12 million mobile service subscribers, representing one of the highest penetration rates in the world at about 178%. Among these 12 million subscribers, over four million are 3G/3.5G service customers. We have more than 8,900 public Wi-Fi hot spots in the city, and free Wi-Fi services are available for public access in 380 Government premises. Hong Kong's world renowned telecommunications infrastructure is a key enabler for the trade and logistics industry.

     As Asia's World City, Hong Kong has established a solid ICT foundation, which includes among others excellent infrastructure and facilities, such as the Cyberport, the Science Park and the Hong Kong Logistics and Supply Chain Management Enabling Technologies Research and Development Centre (LSCM).  These facilities in turn are crucial to supporting and sustaining our economic growth, not least the growth of our logistics and supply chain industry.

     The Government also encourages co-operation among research and development centres, scientific institutes and industries in the Mainland and Hong Kong. For example, Innovation and Technology Commission and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology co-hosted a Technology Standards Briefing Session (內地與香港技術標準簡介會) in Hong Kong just two days ago. I am also delighted that both GS1 Hong Kong and the LSCM have been participating in the Guangdong Province RFID Standardisation Technology Committee (廣東省無線射頻識別(RFID)標準化技術委員會) established in December 2009.

     Third, fostering trade-related support services with the use of innovative technology. The Government has taken the lead in supporting the introduction of trade-related support services, such as the Government Electronic Trading Services and the On-Board Trucker Information System. The Government is also firmly committed to promoting applied research and development, and support technology transfer for the provision of trade-related support services. For example, the Innovative and Technology Fund provided financial support for the development of GS1 Hong Kong's ezTRACK service, which is an online track and trace platform to provide end-to-end supply chain visibility for global businesses. Such support services further enhance the industry's efficiency and competitiveness in a globally connected world.

     Trade logistics performance is directly linked with important economic outcomes, such as trade expansion, diversification of exports, and growth. Both within and beyond the three factors I have just mentioned, namely trade processes, ICT infrastructure, trade-related support services, I believe we can do more and do better. With both the Government and the industry joining hands, we can surely revitalise our supply chain to accelerate economic growth.

     Last but not least, may I extend my congratulations to the award winners of the Hong Kong RFID Awards 2010, who will share with us some of their experiences today. Their wonderful yet practical designs and applications will no doubt accelerate the growth of our industries, as well as enhance Hong Kong's overall competitiveness. Well done! And thank you.

Ends/Friday, November 5, 2010
Issued at HKT 16:37


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