Hong Kong's future as a regional transport hub

Author/s (editor/s):

Peter J. Rimmer

Publication year:


Publication type:

Policy paper

Canberra Papers on Strategy and Defence No. 87

After the reversion of Hong Kong to China in 1997, will the port maintain its commanding position in the worldwide operation, ownership and management of container shipping; will its airport remain as a major focal point in the global aviation network linking East Asia with the North American and European economic blocks; will the location of the associated transport infrastructure be able to accommodate the changed situation; and will the linked urban developments made with respect to Hong Kong's past settlement patterns and existing political boundaries be suitable? Above all, how will its Port and Airport Development Strategy (PADS) affect economic and political relations between Hong Kong and China? Will Hong Kong be able to maintain its competitive advantage into the twenty-first century, which will be dominated by 'time-based' competition (i.e., 'just-in-time delivery', minimal inventories and faster turnaround of capital)? Resolution of these issues will determine Hong Kong's future as a regional transport hub.

Before considering PADS, this monograph reviews relevant aspects of Hong Kong's economy underpinning its transformation from an entrepot into a regional transport hub. With this background it addresses the key issues by distilling PADS into its separate components and examining each in turn: port expansion, airport relocation, land transport infrastructure, and implications for urban development. Initially, it explores each component's past developments and new proposals before evaluating criticisms in aspects of the strategy. Then it assesses the degree to which the recommendations complement or duplicate developments in the Pearl River Delta and southern China. After these analyses the monograph repacks PADS and discusses its intertwined economic and political aspects, with reference to the respective roles of the Hong Kong, Chinese and British governments. Finally, it draws conclusions about Hong Kong's likely future as a regional transport hub.

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