Transcript of remarks by CE at media session in Foshan (with video)


     The delegation of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and the Legislative Council led by the Chief Executive, Mr John Lee, continued its visit to Mainland cities of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in Dongguan and Foshan today (April 23). Following is the transcript of remarks by Mr Lee at a media session in Foshan this evening:
Reporter: Chief Executive, can you tell us why the air cargo logistics hub in Dongguan is so important and so significant? How will it enhance Hong Kong’s connector role? And what are some of the other key takeaways from your visit today?
Chief Executive: The logistics centre that is being developed in Dongguan as a joint project between the Airport Authority Hong Kong and the local Dongguan government is a significant project in many respects. First of all, it opens up a new way of accepting cargos – the seaway. Cargos can be transported from Dongguan to Hong Kong airport directly. The advantage of that is, first of all, the time for the shipping of cargo can be very precisely controlled. There will be no traffic jam as in roads and the speed of cargo transportation can be determined as we develop the power of shipping vessels. So it opens up a new method. The second thing is that opening up means we double the way of Hong Kong airport in accepting cargos, both land and sea, so it doubles the potential and the development returns.
     And the third significant thing is that it will be reducing a lot of costs and reducing a lot of time because the procedure of customs clearance will be carried out once and for all, instead of doing two cargo customs clearance in Dongguan and also in Hong Kong. We combine the customs clearance, that is, we do the customs clearance procedure in Dongguan and then once it is onboard the vessel, it will be directly transported to the aircraft for the air cargo to be delivered to the destination. Because of the simplified procedure and the scale effect, we believe that the reduction of cost will be by 50 per cent when it is completed, and also the time will be reduced by one-third. One simple example is, in a model that is presented, a ship can carry, say, something like 20 containers, which may be equivalent to the use of something like 50 cargo trucks. Instead of using 50 drivers to deliver the cargos, all we need is a shipping vessel with maybe five to six crews, and we can deliver in one go the total cargo capacity of 50 drivers altogether. You can see how it saves time and cost.
     It also signifies the importance of taking advantages of different cities. The strength of Hong Kong being an aviation hub is that we will be able to do cargo delivery very efficiently and very cheaply. That is our advantage, and Hong Kong remains the number one cargo handling airport. We remain number one. What Dongguan can offer is, first of all, land, which is a bottleneck as I have explained time and again. The bottleneck for Hong Kong’s development growth is land supply, insufficient land. Dongguan can offer that, and also Dongguan can offer labour because labour cost of course costs more in Hong Kong. That is, I think, the beauty of co-operation under the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The whole idea is that we all contribute our advantages, the best things that we have, so that one plus one will be greater than two.
     My takeaway of the visit today both in Dongguan and in Foshan, is that every city has its strength. It is important that we look at ourselves to see how I can contribute my best to the overall good of the development of the GBA. Each city thinks alike, and we create a win-win situation. Hong Kong has several advantages. We are a very international city, so we attract money; we attract investment; we attract talents from all over the world; we are good at basic research. And of course, the nine Mainland cities of the GBA are very good at manufacturing. They have very complete production lines, and also they have a scale effect, particularly at the downstream, so we can contribute what we are good at the upstream. And then in the whole ecosystem, we act together; the different strengths of different cities that build a great GBA for the benefit of everybody.
(Please also refer to the Chinese portion of the transcript.)