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Shenzhen and Hong Kong ports: Facing a new era of trade expansion

Speech by Roger Tupper, Deputy Secretary, Hong Kong Port and Maritime Board, at the Shenzhen Municipal Port Authority Spring Dinner early this year, in Hong Kong

It is a great pleasure to join such a distinguished cross section of shipping and port executives, especially the Vice Secretary General of the Shenzhen Peoples Government Mr. Tang Yau-chi and Vice Director of the Shenzhen Municipal Port Authority Mr. Zhang Bing-han. We in Hong Kong appreciate how busy you are and are grateful you have been able to spare some of your valuable time to tell us of the exciting developments proceeding in Shenzhen, and provide us the opportunity to discuss port and shipping matters of mutual interest.

I believe that we are facing a new era of trade expansion in this region of the world now that finally China will enter the World Trade Organisation. One wonders who thought you can have a World Trade Organisation without China. The prospects for trade are immense with sea cargo growth predicted to be double-digit in the years ahead. For the Port of Hong Kong and ports in Shenzhen, the challenge and opportunity for the future lies in meeting the cargo demand arising from the further development of the economically vibrant Pearl River Delta industrial area and further afield the developing manufacturing industries in the inland provinces of Yunnan, Hunan, Guizhou and Szechuan.

We in Hong Kong and Shenzhen share a common interest in attracting this cargo to our ports. In Hong Kong, we are now considering the findings of the Northern Jiaotung University Study with the Mainland's Ministry of Railways and the Kowloon Canton Railway in Hong Kong on freight rail to the hinterland. At the same time, we are expanding the number of kiosks at our main cross boundary checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau to expedite the movement of vehicles to and from our container terminals and the recent completion of the Tuen Mun River Trade Terminal marks a new era in all water transportation from the Pearl River Delta to our major trading markets in the US, Japan and Europe These developments and those in Shenzhen ports are bearing fruit. In Hong Kong we have seen port throughput increase by some 10% to an estimated figure slightly in excess of 16mn TEUs in 1999. We are very impressed by the substantial growth of 53% for the Shenzhen ports to 3mn TEU's.

The Port and Maritime Board takes a totally holistic view of the development of the Pearl River Delta as a huge manufacturing and trading zone being served by the biggest transport and logistics hub in the world. In Shenzhen and Hong Kong, we offer a choice of service and price to our ever more demanding customers, the carriers, shippers and forwarders. As long as we keep focussed on each improving our services as best we can, then the cargo demand will continue to grow and our ports will continue to prosper.

As we move into the new century I am sure the ports of Hong Kong and Shenzhen will move to an ever better understanding of their relationship and the many areas of common interest through shared knowledge and regular contacts.