Speech by STL at Port of Hamburg Evening Reception (English only) 24 November 2022

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, at the Port of Hamburg Evening Reception today (November 24):

Mrs Seedig (German Consul General to Hong Kong and Macau, Mrs Stefanie Seedig), Mr Mattern (Chief Executive Officer of Port of Hamburg Marketing, Mr Axel Mattern), Mr Hack (President of German Chamber of Commerce, Hong Kong, Mr Johannes Hack), distinguished guests here and online, ladies and gentlemen,

Guten Abend. Good evening. Thank you for inviting me to the 10th Port of Hamburg Evening Reception organised in Hong Kong. This reception has now become a must-attend event of the Hong Kong Maritime Week. It is my great pleasure to join you all here and meet so many professionals and friends from the maritime and logistics community in Germany and Hong Kong.

I am glad that Germany remains Hong Kong's largest trading partner among the European Union countries. Our bilateral trade volume amounted to more than 14 billion Euros last year. Reciprocally, Hong Kong was Germany's 12th largest trading partner in Asia. Some 600 German companies have operations in Hong Kong, including those in the trading, transport and logistics sector. I must say, the biggest German presence in Hong Kong is on our roads - the vast majority of our luxury cars are from Germany - a big vote of confidence.

Hamburg is Germany's second-largest city and is, like Hong Kong, renowned for her maritime heritage. The Port of Hamburg is not only one of the largest ports in the world, but also the third busiest port in Europe with container throughput amounting to over 8.7 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) last year. Having spent significant time in my career in railway development, I am most impressed by the Port of Hamburg's superb rail network infrastructure, which is of fundamental economic importance. The favourable location of your port serves well in connecting markets in Germany, Central Europe, Eastern Europe and Northern Europe to worldwide transport routes by feeder and river barges, rail and truck at low cost.

With all unique strengths enjoyed by the Port of Hamburg, we are glad that China, including Hong Kong, remained the most important trading partners of the Port of Hamburg with 1.3 million TEUs in the first six months this year. In addition to seafreight, Hamburg has a thriving development on its Silk Road rail connections, with more than 20 destinations in China. In total, some 160 000 TEUs were carried by rail between Hamburg port and China last year.

Like Hamburg, Hong Kong is an international maritime centre, and it has received clear support from national strategies like the National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Greater Bay Area outline development plan. We are home to nearly 900 shipping-related companies, providing a variety of high-valued-added maritime services including ship management, ship finance, marine insurance and maritime law and arbitration. Hong Kong port remains one of the busiest container ports in the world, with some 270 weekly international container vessel sailings connecting to nearly 600 destinations worldwide.

When we look at the development of Hamburg and Hong Kong ports, we share many similarities. Both Hamburg and Hong Kong are the world's leading maritime centres, while serving different hinterlands with our intermodal transports. The two modern gateways play important roles in the trade routes between the East and the West. While the international economic environment has been putting pressure on maritime operations in recent years, we are in a good position to rise to global challenges given our strong ties.

Germany and Hong Kong's similarity is also manifested in our commitment to environmental conservation. Ports around the world have started to go green - whether that is transitioning to Net Zero Carbon and reducing emissions or in meeting the demands of the industry for more efficient operation with greater sustainability. In addition to encouraging the industry to adopt more sustainable shipping initiatives, Hong Kong is committed to ensuring compliance of our local legislation with the latest requirements of the International Maritime Organization on environmental protection.

We are the first port in Asia to mandate ocean-going vessels (OGVs) to switch to low sulphur fuel while at berth. We have also been collaborating with the Mainland Chinese authorities to reduce emissions from vessels. For instance, we worked with our neighboring Guangdong Province to set up a Domestic Emission Control Area in the waters of the Pearl River Delta Region. It further tightened requirements for all vessels to use compliant fuel, irrespective of whether they are sailing or berthing. Most recently, we are spearheading the adoption of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in OGVs, such as actively exploring the provision of LNG bunkering service at the offshore LNG terminal newly constructed by our power companies, planning for LNG bunkering areas, and formulating technical requirements and related safety regulations and requirements for offshore LNG bunkering. All these efforts go a long way to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting the sustainability of international shipping.

Ladies and gentlemen, these are just a few examples of the initiatives under way to uphold Hong Kong's position as an international maritime centre. Rest assured that we will not only keep the momentum in promoting green shipping, but also entrenching our co-operation with our German friends with a view to bringing more businesses and sustainable development in the two forward-looking world cities.

On this note, I wish you all an enjoyable evening. Thank you.