Hong Kong's economic recovery is improving
 2023/3/3 10:22:00

葵青货柜码头是香港最主要的货柜物流处理中心。从地图上看,这片由青衣、葵涌与昂船洲围成的狭窄区域,恰好位于整个香港的几何中心。站在高处俯瞰,林立的吊车、往来的巨轮以及密密麻麻的集装箱,展现着当前香港经济复苏的蓬勃生机。Kwai Tsing Container Terminal is the main container logistics processing centre in Hong Kong. On the map, this narrow area bounded by Tsing Yi, Kwai Chung and Stonecutters Island is right in the geometric centre of Hong Kong. From a high vantage point, a forest of cranes, giant ships and densely packed containers show the vitality of Hong Kong's current economic recovery.

The local economy has picked up significantly

"The recovery in the industry in the last two months has been very clear in terms of the frequency of truck departures." In the logistics center building of China Merchants in Qingyi, Kong Xiangzheng, deputy general manager of asset management department of Sinotrans (Hong Kong) Holdings Limited, told reporters that 10 floors of the 13-story logistics center are warehouses, some of which are self-operated and some of which are rented. Now whether self-operated or rented, the utilization rate has reached 100%, and the turnover rate of goods in the warehouse has finally gone up.

Kong's first job after joining China Merchants Group was to participate in the bidding for the construction land of China Merchants Logistics Center in Tsing Yi. Engaged in logistics related work for more than 10 years, Kong Xiangzheng is familiar with Qingyi. "Hong Kong International Airport, Shenzhen Bay Port, Huanggang Port, or Hong Kong Island are all within 20 minutes' drive from us." Kong said that in the past seven or eight years, four large logistics centers have been built in Tsing Yi, which has formed a scale effect. The frequency of trucks can tell the economic prosperity of Hong Kong.

In the warehouse on the second floor of China Merchants' logistics center, several shelves are filled with hollow plastic rollers that hold rolls of fabric of various colors. "This is one of our most prolific shipments recently." Kong said the cloth was a suit fabric imported from Italy by a Beijing company. Affected by the epidemic, the sales of suits were depressed in the first two years, and the shipment of fabrics continued to shrink. "After the news of the orderly resumption of customs clearance in the mainland and Hong Kong, the shipment of fabric suddenly increased, and nearly 2,000 orders have been issued in the past three months." Kong Xiangzheng said.

From the perspective of the self-operated logistics business of SinoExpress (Hong Kong) Holdings Co., LTD., in recent months, the logistics operation volume of local consumer products has increased by 50% to 100% year-on-year, the logistics operation volume of clothing fabrics and catering industries has increased by about 50% to 70% year-on-year, and the industrial consumer goods in the construction market has increased by about 20% year-on-year. "This shows that Hong Kong's local tourism and high-end service industries are clearly picking up." Kong believes that with the current recovery momentum, the company's business volume is expected to return to the pre-epidemic level by the third and fourth quarters of this year.

Supplies for the people's livelihood are stable

During the epidemic, the China Merchants Logistics Center was an important transit warehouse for anti-epidemic supplies sent from the mainland to Hong Kong, storing about 2,500 cubic meters of anti-epidemic supplies. Today, in the warehouse, the reporter still saw a lot of stickers with the word "anti epidemic" large carton. "This is our group's special stockpile of emergency supplies, if the outbreak of the virus in Hong Kong again, we can immediately provide support." Kong explained.

No matter how the situation changes, central enterprises in Hong Kong have always taken an active part in shouldering their social responsibilities and making every effort to ensure the stable supply of materials for people's livelihood. After the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, cross-border land transport between Shenzhen and Hong Kong once came to a standstill and land transport of logistics to Hong Kong was severely disrupted. Water transport has shouldered the burden of ensuring the supply of more than 80% of the goods for Hong Kong's livelihood. As an important water carrier of mainland goods for people's livelihood in Hong Kong, SinoTransports Guangyun Shipping Co., LTD made full use of the advantages of the regional waterway network during the epidemic period, opening up more than 10 fast waterways for the water transportation of goods for people's livelihood in Hong Kong, said Yao Baozhu, senior manager of the company's Commerce Department.

During the Spring Festival this year, with the orderly resumption of customs clearance between the mainland and Hong Kong, economic and social activities in Hong Kong have accelerated to return to normal, which is not a small test for the supply of materials. "In order to ensure smooth cargo transport between the Pearl River Delta and Hong Kong and Macao during the Spring Festival, we have invested 50 vessels as overtime vessels and arranged 80 relevant personnel to work overtime to ensure the normal operation of the vessels." Yao Baozhu said that during the Spring Festival, social transport resources are very tight, the company through active coordination, to increase the cross-border through train transport capacity and local city transport capacity, to ensure the stable operation of supplies for the people's livelihood of Hong Kong during the festival.

In Hong Kong, a free port, rice is the only regulated commodity. China Merchants Holdings LTD, a subsidiary of China Merchants Group, is the largest stockholder of rice in Hong Kong approved by the SAR government, with nearly half of Hong Kong's total stock. "According to rough estimates, the current stock of rice in the merchant warehouse can supply the consumption of local citizens for about a week." China Merchants warehouse code transportation Co., LTD. Marketing general manager Wang Qun said.

It is not easy to ensure a stable and orderly supply of rice, Wang recalled, in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak, the company's daily workload jumped from 300 tons to 700 tons. "After constantly adjusting the plan and summarizing experience, during the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong in 2022, rice supply remained stable despite shortages of vegetables, fruits, meat and other foods." Wang Qun proudly said that the company, as the "big rice cylinder" in Hong Kong, will always put "rice at home of Hong Kong citizens" as the top priority, and do a solid job of rice supply.

Unique advantages and broad prospects

As one of the four pillars of Hong Kong's economy, trade and logistics account for about one-fifth of Hong Kong's GDP. Shipping accounts for nearly 90% of Hong Kong's external trade in goods, providing an important support for Hong Kong's long-term prosperity and stability.

"As a port, Hong Kong is an important international transit hub. Under the status of a free port, Hong Kong not only has a more international and relaxed policy, but also leads the world in terms of trade and customs clearance." China Merchants Container Services LTD operates Hong Kong's only mid-stream terminal with access to nearly 40 ports in the Greater Bay Area and coastal areas. Dai Guangchao, deputy general manager of the company, believes that, from the data, although Hong Kong transshipment container business has partly declined in recent years, it has strong resilience. In 2021, 10.98 million TEUs will still be completed, accounting for 61.8% of the total throughput from 52.3% in 2018. In addition, Hong Kong's high-quality shipping and Marine services. Hong Kong has a unique advantage in international transit goods. "We are still full of confidence and hope for Hong Kong's future development."

Hong Kong enjoys a unique position in the international shipping industry by virtue of its multiple advantages. Hong Kong is the fourth largest shipping registry in the world; The International Chamber of Shipping opened its China office in Hong Kong in 2019 as its first global office outside its London headquarters; The Baltic International Chamber of Shipping announced in September 2020 that Hong Kong would be the fourth designated venue for arbitration, making Hong Kong one of the world's top maritime arbitration centers.

"Hong Kong is well positioned to develop into a regional hub for high-end, high-value-added logistics services." Kong noted that although the company's overall business volume has shrunk over the years, its value-added goods business, represented by electronic components and fashion goods, has shown strong resilience and significantly increased its share in the total cargo volume. "Such goods have high requirements for warehousing and logistics management and distribution efficiency. Hong Kong has the advantage of free port and high-quality labor force. We have the conditions to develop high-end logistics services."

In China Merchants logistics center in the warehouse on the second floor, the reporter saw in addition to the staff are handling goods, and with a magnifying glass in the inspection of the cloth, there is a label for an imported bottled beverage. "As a logistics operator, we are now not only responsible for warehousing and distribution of goods, but also provide quality inspection, packaging and other value-added services." Kong said that as land costs are high in Hong Kong, it is necessary and possible to improve efficiency and reduce costs through digital and intelligent means.

"At present, we are all at the beginning stage of digitization and intelligentization. The industry is looking forward to the support of government policy and funding to promote the transformation and upgrading of logistics and shipping industry through technology. I am confident that as long as we find the right path, Hong Kong will continue to shine in international trade." Kong Xiangzheng said. (People's Daily Overseas Edition, Hong Kong, March 2 -- Reporter Feng Xuezhi)

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