Legislative amendments relating to the carriage of dangerous goods by air
Mr CHAN Chun-ying noted that while aircraft operators had already been required to perform a DG acceptance check before a consignment containing DG was accepted for air carriage, they were now required to identify the person performing the acceptance check in accordance with the latest edition of TIs. He asked about the implication of this new requirement on passengers. He was also concerned if suitable training would be provided for relevant aviation personnel.
DSTH4 explained that the existing DG acceptance check was conducted for air cargo only and hence, the new requirement would have no impact on passengers. Assistant Director-General of Civil Aviation (Airport Standards) (“ADGCA”) supplemented that at present related ground handling personnel were required to attend relevant training to renew their knowledge of DG and procedures of acceptance checks every two years.
On Mr CHAN Chun-ying’s enquiry about the implementation of the new requirements of TIs, ADGCA advised that the latest edition of TIs (i.e. the 2017-2018 edition) was issued by ICAO in December 2016. Before the new requirements of TIs were given legal effect, the International Air Transport Association (“IATA”) had updated its Dangerous Goods Regulations (“DGR”) with effect from 1 January 2017 to implement the latest amendments to TIs. It was an established industry practice that in handling DG, airlines, freight forwarders and shippers would adhere to the IATA DGR which was the globally recognized reference for transporting DG by air. Airlines would not accept non-compliant DG for air carriage due to safety consideration of aircraft operations. In short, the international air transport industry was already operating in accordance with the latest requirements of TIs in handling the transport of DG by air and in disseminating the relevant information to passengers.
ADGCA further advised that whenever an updated edition of TIs was published by ICAO, CAD would review the new requirements promulgated therein, and pursue necessary amendments in order to keep Hong Kong’s regulatory regime in line with the ICAO standards. For the latest edition of TIs, CAD had already published ICAO’s amendments on its website in January 2017 and had written to stakeholders to provide details of the amendments. Furthermore, CAD had briefed the air cargo industry accordingly, and put into practice the latest requirements administratively. So far, the industry had not indicated any major difficulties in compliance. The current legislative exercise sought to provide legal backing for the new standards.
Reprovisioning of Hongkong Post’s Headquarters in the General Post Office Building to a Government, Institution or Community site at Wang Chin Street, Kowloon Bay
New Hongkong Post’s Headquarters
Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed support for the reprovisioning proposal which would increase the floor area of office and retail space in the premier core business district. However, he considered that the accessibility to the reprovisioned HKP HQs should be improved by, for example, adding in the vicinity a station of the Environmentally Friendly Linkage System currently planned for Kowloon East.
PMG assured members that according to the traffic assessment commissioned by the Architectural Services Department (“ArchSD”), the additional traffic brought by the operation of the reprovisioned HKP HQs would have minimal traffic impact to the vicinity.
Mr CHAN Chun-ying enquired if reprovisioning HKP HQs away from a prime location would have any adverse implication on the income of HKP, especially during the initial period after the reprovisioning. He suggested that the Government might provide a special funding to assist HKP’s operation under the Post Office Trading Fund if necessary.
PMG advised that bulk postings of air mail items constituted a substantial source of HKP’s business, whereas the local mail service was operating at a loss. The former would not be affected by the reprovisioning proposal as it was currently handled in other HKP’s venues. Ag. APMG added that the proposal could in fact help HKP to seize the business opportunities arising from the increase of customers from new commercial buildings and retail centres in Kowloon Bay.