Speech by STL at joint luncheon of Marine Department and Hong Kong Shipowners Association (English only)02 May 2023

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, at a joint luncheon organised by the Marine Department and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association today (May 2):

Wellington (Chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, Mr Wellington Koo), Carol (Director of Marine, Ms Carol Yuen), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to address the distinguished audience of the Hong Kong shipping community today. This joint luncheon, organised by the Marine Department and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association, has a long-standing tradition signifying the strong collaboration between the Government and the industry.

You may remember the Hong Kong Shipowners Association's 65th anniversary gala dinner on March 30. Since its establishment in 1957, the Association has grown to represent over 10 per cent of the deadweight tonnage of the world's merchant fleet. The Association is highly regarded in Hong Kong and worldwide, and is key to Hong Kong's maritime success.

Since its establishment in 1990, the Hong Kong Shipping Registry has risen to the world's number four today, with a fleet of about 2 400 ships and nearly 127 million gross tonnage. Hong Kong registered ships are among the best performers in the world, with a Port State Control detention rate of 1.4 per cent against the world average of 2.77 per cent in 2022. The establishment of seven Regional Desks across Asia, Europe, Oceania and North America has allowed the Registry to provide more direct support to shipowners abroad.

Our country supports, and the Minister of Transport of the Central Government reaffirmed the support to me during my visit to Mainland in mid-April, the consolidation of Hong Kong's status as an international maritime centre for better integration into the national development course. As a regional transshipment hub with over 1 100 port and maritime companies providing quality maritime services, Hong Kong has served as a springboard for both international and Mainland enterprises.

The Government is committed to promoting the development of the maritime industry. We have put in place various tax concessions for our maritime sector, such as marine insurers, ship managers, agents, shipbrokers, ship lessors and ship leasing managers, in order to attract more maritime enterprises to establish their presence in Hong Kong.

We are actively promoting the development of smart port to strengthen the competitiveness of our port by setting up a port community system to facilitate data sharing among stakeholders. Furthermore, the Hong Kong Shipping Registry is enhancing e-services. The e-certification for Hong Kong ship registration will be launched later this year.

Hong Kong has been embracing the development of green port and encouraging the shipping industry to adopt more sustainable shipping initiatives. To encourage the use of clean marine fuel by ocean going vessels, the Government has worked with the industry to make use of the offshore LNG (liquefied natural gas) terminal by two power companies to provide LNG bunkering services in Hong Kong.

The Government is nurturing talents for the sustainable development of the maritime industry. The Government will launch a Maritime Services Traineeship Scheme this year for young people who aspire to a career in maritime law, and inject $200 million into the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund to support manpower training for home-grown talents.

As mentioned in the 2023-24 Budget, the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board and representatives of the maritime industry have formed a task force to map out a comprehensive action plan to nurture our maritime ecosystem and entrench Hong Kong's position as an international maritime centre.

Ladies and gentlemen, Hong Kong's success as an international maritime centre is thanks to the contributions of you all. We have arranged an award presentation session today to pay tribute to our shipowners who have made significant contributions to the Hong Kong Shipping Registry.

In closing, please allow me to mention our annual flagship event, the Hong Kong Maritime Week, which will be held from November 19 to 25 this year. We will expand its scale and look forward to seeing you in the future. I would like to thank the Marine Department and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association for organising today's event, and thank you all for your staunch support to Hong Kong maritime industry. Thank you.