105. The planning of airport development and construction take time. Therefore, we should formulate long-term strategies in a timely manner to ensure that the handling capacity of the Hong Kong International Airport will fully meet the ever-increasing air traffic demand. Last year, the Airport Authority Hong Kong (AA) commenced Phase 1 works of its midfield expansion project to provide additional aircraft stands and apron facilities and a new passenger concourse. Upon completion of the project, the handling capacity of the airport will be increased to 70 million passengers and six million tonnes of cargo a year. Such capacity will be sufficient to cope with the air traffic demand up to 2020.
106. The AA launched a public consultation in 2011 on the findings of the Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030. In their report submitted to the Government, the AA has recommended adopting the three-runway system as the blueprint for the airport’s future development and further planning. The future development of the airport, the construction or not of the third runway in particular, and the overall economic development of Hong Kong are inextricably intertwined. The project will have profound financial implications for our society. The Government is considering the AA’s recommendations carefully in a bid to make an early decision for the commencement of the next stage of work, which includes conducting an environmental impact assessment and preparing the associated detailed design and financing proposals.
107. Turning to the port, we have commissioned a preliminary feasibility study on the development of Container Terminal 10 at Southwest Tsing Yi to assess the project’s impact on the environment and on road and marine traffic. We have also commenced the Study on the Strategic Development Plan for Hong Kong Port 2030 to update port cargo forecasts and explore how to make better use of the existing port facilities in support of future development. Both studies are scheduled for completion by the end of this year. We shall take into account the study results, economic situation, the views of stakeholders, etc. when deciding on the need to develop Container Terminal 10 and the timetable.
108. While developing its services, the shipping industry is also very concerned about environmental protection. Last year, it launched the Fair Winds Charter. By signing the Charter, the industry voluntarily switches to low sulphur fuel for ocean-going vessels berthing in Hong Kong waters in a bid to reduce emissions. To encourage more carriers to switch to cleaner fuels when berthing in Hong Kong waters, I propose to reduce by half the port facilities and light dues charged on ocean-going vessels using low sulphur fuel while at berth in Hong Kong. The proposed scheme will span three years and cost the Government $260 million.
109. In response to the positioning of Hong Kong as an international maritime centre as set out in the National 12th Five-Year Plan, we shall continue to reinforce the local maritime service cluster, strengthen manpower training, and join hands with the industry to promote both locally and abroad our maritime services in areas such as ship management, maritime arbitration and ship finance.