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Speech by STL at Digital and Intelligent Transformation in Ports and Shipping Industry Forum (English only)
     Following is the speech by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, at the Digital and Intelligent Transformation in Ports and Shipping Industry Forum today (November 16):
Honourable Yim (Mr Yim Kong, Vice Chairman of China Merchants Port Group), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
     May I convey my warmest greetings to you, our friends from the maritime community in person and online, joining the second World Maritime Merchants Forum organised by the China Merchants Group.

     This two-day forum is an opportune occasion for us to exchange intelligence and gather insights on the current state and the future of the maritime industry, particularly in the world undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, with worsening global economic outlook amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, interest rate and oil price hikes, and the need for sustainable development.

     Hong Kong's most important strength lies in "one country, two systems" and the staunch support bestowed by the motherland. National strategies including the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Greater Bay Area Outline Development Plan have reaffirmed the Central Government's steadfast support to Hong Kong in consolidating and promoting its position as international maritime centre.
     With the support from the trade, Hong Kong is home to a vibrant maritime cluster with nearly 900 maritime-related companies, providing a great variety of quality maritime services, ranging from ship owning, ship agency and management, ship broking, marine insurance, maritime legal and arbitration services.
     Over the years, we have implemented a host of measures for the advancement of the industry and help attract more business establishment in Hong Kong, including introduction of tax exemption and concessions in 2020 to qualifying ship leasing activities by ship lessors and ship leasing managers, and marine insurance businesses respectively. We have further introduced half-rate profits tax concessions to ship agents, ship managers and ship brokers this year.
     With a view to catching up the international trend of digitalising port operations, we are working to drive the development of a port community system, including facilitating data flow and sharing in the port through a port community system, through streamlining and optimising the multi-party co-ordinated processes electronically.
     As an international shipping centre, Hong Kong has been promoting the development of "green port" through different measures and encouraging the industry to adopt more sustainable shipping initiatives. To this end, we are committed to ensuring that the local legislation is in compliance with the latest requirements of the International Maritime Organization on environmental protection. We have also been actively promoting the use of clean energy by ocean-going vessels (OGVs), such as exploring measures to take forward the provision of LNG (liquefied natural gas) bunkering for OGVs, with a view to attracting more OGVs to call the Hong Kong Port.
     To enhance the further development of high value-added maritime services in Hong Kong, it is vital to support the manpower development in maritime services. To this end, we will launch a Maritime Services Traineeship Scheme by mid-2023, which will incentivise companies to provide tailor-made traineeship programmes for young people who aspire to a career in maritime law with a view to nurturing more home-grown maritime lawyers. 
     The World Maritime Merchants Forum and its sub-forum have brought us enlightening and stimulating exchanges, yet it almost comes to an end. On that note, ladies and gentlemen, may I grasp this opportunity to request the pleasure of your company to another annual flagship event of Hong Kong's maritime sector, the sixth edition of the Hong Kong Maritime Week starting next Monday, with over 40 events ranging from international conferences, forums, to family fun days in the coming week, to continue our valuable sharing of experience and foresights.
     In closing, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to China Merchants Group which have helped put together such a timely and meaningful event. Thank you, and see you all soon. 
Ends/Wednesday, November 16, 2022
Issued at HKT 13:16
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