|15 July 2003 (Tuesday)|
LOGSCOUNCIL Moving Ahead with Key Initiatives
At the sixth meeting of the Hong Kong Logistics Development Council (LOGSCOUNCIL) held today (15 July), Mr Stephen Ip, Chairman and Secretary for Economic Development and Labour, congratulated members and their organisations for having overcome the challenge posed by the SARS outbreak.
"With concerted efforts, the logistics industry has successfully weathered the storm and sustained its strong performance. Such resilience reinforces our confidence in the logistics sector as one of Hong Kong's economic pillars," Mr Ip said. "With Hong Kong's removal from the list of SARS-affected areas and the signing of the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) between Hong Kong and the Mainland on 29 June 2003, the second half of 2003 promises to be a busy and fruitful period for logistics industry players as they catch up with deferred business trips, secure new orders and explore new opportunities in the Mainland."
"LOGSCOUNCIL welcomes CEPA as it will bring enormous business opportunities to Hong Kong, facilitate our economic recovery, boost investment between the Mainland and Hong Kong, and help improve the local employment situation." Mr Ip emphasised. "With effect from 1 January 2004, Hong Kong companies providing logistics, storage and warehousing, freight forwarding, road freight transport and maritime transport services will be allowed under CEPA to set up wholly-owned enterprises to operate business in these sectors in the Mainland. These offers will allow Hong Kong companies greater flexibility and business opportunities in the Mainland. To ensure that we can reap the full benefits of the CEPA offers, we are soliciting the views of the industry through LOGSCOUNCIL, and will take them into account in discussing the implementation details with the Mainland authorities. A seminar will also be held on 23 July to brief logistics SMEs on the CEPA offers and obtain their views."
The LOGSCOUNCIL also reviewed the progress made by the five Project Groups and discussed the way forward for key initiatives.
Significant improvements have been achieved in ensuring a seamless freight flow across the boundary, with 97% of northbound freight vehicles and 84% of the southbound ones able to cross the boundary within one hour. Major cross boundary transport infrastructure projects are at different stages of planning and construction. Looking ahead, the P-logistics Project Group will discuss the broad planning parameters for the development of a Value Added Logistics Park.
LOGSCOUNCIL discussed the recommendations of the E-logistics Project Group on how to expedite implementation of the Digital Trade and Transportation Network (DTTN) System, and reached a consensus on the overall approach in taking forward this initiative. The Project Group will continue to advise on this matter to ensure that a system acceptable to the industry will be developed as soon as practicable.
The S-logistics Project Group organised in July a seminar for bank representatives on the financing needs of logistics SMEs. It will collaborate with reputable course providers and launch two tailor-made courses in October 2003 to cater for the practical training needs of logistics SMEs. One will target at the senior executives of freight forwarding SMEs, and other will be for frontline staff in warehousing and inventory management.
The H-logistics Project Group will collaborate with the Vocational Training Council to develop a Qualification Framework for the logistics industry. It will also enlist support from logistics enterprises to provide placement opportunities to enable tertiary logistics students gain practical working experience and broaden their industry exposure. Local roadshows for senior secondary students and a seminar for secondary school teachers will also be organised.
To promote Hong Kong's logistics advantages to potential users, the M-logistics Project Group is working on plans to organise an international logistics conference in Hong Kong, and to partner with the Trade Development Council in staging the second Logistics Conference and Expo in Guangzhou in spring 2004.