Logistics conference explores international trade

Mavis Wong

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Distinguished scholars from home and abroad engaged in thought-provoking discussions on intercontinental logistics and international trade at the Annual Conference of Transport, Trade and Service Studies at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) on 11 November.
The theme of the two-day conference, which was organised by CityU’s Centre for Transport, Trade and Financial Studies (CTTFS), was “Intercontinental Logistics and International Trade: The Real Economies and Finance”.
The aim of the event was to gather insights into the practical and theoretical underpinnings and open new avenues for understanding the cognate industries of intercontinental logistics and international trade, which have become deeply intertwined since the global economic crisis in 2008.

Officiating at the conference were Professor Horace Ip Ho-shing, Acting Vice-President (Research and Technology) and Acting Dean of Graduate Studies, Professor John Liu Jianhua, Director of CTTFS, and the Honourable Frankie Yick Chi-ming, Legislative Councillor (Transport Constituency).

“The fact that many of you have travelled a long distance to Hong Kong serves to remind me of the important role Hong Kong plays in international transport, trade and finance,” said Professor Ip in his welcome address.
The global economic crisis of 2008 had taught the world that intercontinental logistics interacted profoundly with international trade in terms of transportation infrastructure, trade pattern and others, which accounted for the thoughtful focus of this year’s conference, he said.

Professor Liu reiterated that CTFFS and the annual conference aimed to help Hong Kong map out its historical mission of carrying forward its tradition of being an international centre of finance, trade and shipping, in addition to expanding into an international hub of one-stop integrated services.
The key challenge for Hong Kong lay in bringing the shipping and trade industry up as a real contributor of Hong Kong’s economy, as “real” and concrete as the finance and real estate in Hong Kong, he added.
As such, he noted the earnestness CTTFS shares in joining forces with the local shipping communities in taking the challenge in stride.
In his survey of the trading and logistics industries in Hong Kong, Mr Yick highlighted the presence of world-class land, sea and air transport networks in Hong Kong which enable the city to provide a very efficient inter-modal transport and logistics service.
He also drew attention to the institutional advantages possessed by the city, namely its free port status, low and simple tax regimes, quick and transparent custom trading procedures, which benefit its international trade.
Further, logistics practitioners and trade associations also work closely with higher education institutions to develop logistic solutions. As Mr Yick noted, Hong Kong is on the receiving end of support from the mainland’s National 12th Five-Year Plan to develop into an international maritime centre, and a high-value good inventory management and regional distribution centre.
The annual TTSS conference featured four keynote sessions with speeches delivered and insights shared on port-centric logistics, sustainable transport, technology and enterprise, challenges facing Chinese ports, reverse trends in global manufacturing and others. Parallel sessions on transport and trade logistics and transport and trade finance and economics were held, complete with a technical visit to the Hong Kong International Airport.
CTTFS is an inter-college research centre at CityU that promotes research and education in maritime, aviation, trade and financial studies. It is home to the Laboratory for Sustainable Transport, Energy and Technology, Laboratory of Shipping and Trade Asset and Risk Management Systems and Laboratory of Emissions Trading.


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