Hong Kong is a successful air cargohub with advantages over competinghubs that may take some time to erode,but nevertheless, the territory faces seriouschallenges, which require extensiveand challenging policy responses fromGovernment, an executive says.
Speaking at a recent AerospaceForum, David Dodwell, chief executiveof Strategic Access Ltd – a privateconsultant on government-related aviationmatters, said as many responsesrequired close collaboration betweenofficials in Hong Kong, Guangzhou andBeijing, it is open to question whetherinitiatives can be implemented with thespeed that is necessary to protect HongKong’s leadership position.
"Given the difficulties the HongKong Government may face, a concertedand co-ordinated effort was requiredby operators across the trade and logisticssector to press for appropriateand timely responses (which) may be acritical factor in protecting the futuresuccess of the hub," he said.
Citing a Cathay Pacific sponsoredstudy entitled "Hong Kong as Air Cargoand Logistics Hub: From Strengthto Strength â€¦ Or set to decline?", Dodwell said Hong Kong retains asignificant competitive edge over competitorlocations, whether in the PRDor further afield due to many factors, including its efficient new airport atChek Lap Kok.
He pointed out that the other factorsincluded its reputation for clearand simple taxes; a highly businesssympatheticenvironment: a strong andclear legal system: and an absence ofcorruption. All of which explains theterritory’s growth in air cargo businessthat has outpaced every other hub inAsia over the past five years, he said.
Dodwell warned that anxieties concerningthe potential erosion of HongKong’s competitive edge were wellfounded and pointed out that freightforwarders today had the flexibility toshift operations speedily and seamlesslyfrom Hong Kong to other hubs in the PRD if that happened.
"In addition, Hong Kong’s singlegreatest competitive advantage – theconnectivity and the frequency offlights to connected destinations – isbeing eroded rapidly as a more liberalapproach to air services agreementsin China has enabled Guangzhou inparticular to build its international connectivityat a striking pace," he said.
"Combining this with Guangzhou’s already superior domestic connectivity, it is clear that Hong Kong can no longer rest on connectivity as the primary source of future competitive advantage."
– Wong Joon San