Govt unveils plan to enhance port competitiveness

Govt unveils plan to enhance port competitiveness

The government on Wednesday unveiled a long-term plan to enhance the SAR’s competitiveness in the maritime and port industry.

Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said the plan aims to address challenges including a decline in cargo throughput and competition from other ports in the region.

One of the key strategies is to increase the number of origins and destinations for goods handled by Hong Kong.

Lam said he is confident in the SAR’s unique attractiveness when it comes to the industry.

“Hong Kong’s geographical position is very unique. And also, the efficiency of custom clearance is fast. [We have] high efficiency import handling. And our connections with other countries are strong. We are the only area in China that practises common law and we have a very low simple tax system. All these are the attractiveness of Hong Kong ports to other countries. We will ride on these advantages and we will do further promotion to these countries,” he said.

He said representatives will visit countries involved in the Belt and Road initiative to promote Hong Kong as a port.

Meanwhile, the government hopes to turn Hong Kong into a “smart port”, through interconnectivity with the airport and logistics data, and also by encouraging the industry to adopt digital solutions.

Lam acknowledged, however, that Hong Kong is not as automated as newer ports.

“We have conducted the [Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats analysis] and the automation level of Hong Kong is not as high as other new ports, in particular those ports in mainland China. But at the same time, we have the uniqueness and the attractions and we will try to implement this smart port system so that we will give a port community system that will enhance our efficiency further, so that will increase our competitiveness.”

The government also plans to review the tax regime for shipping and maritime activities, and will consider further tax incentives to attract more overseas shipping companies to set up business in Hong Kong.

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