Mr. LAM Sai-hung, GBS, JP
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Mr. LAM Sai-hung, GBS, JP
Secretary for Transport and Logistics

35-Hour Sleepless Datathon Ignites Development of Smart Logistics Industry

April 6, 2024

I attended the "2024 Smart Logistics Datathon", organised by Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, earlier this week. The event took place at Cyberport from last Monday to Thursday. This event was a convergence of energy and fatigue, as participants from various universities across Asia and local secondary schools competed for 35 consecutive hours, analysing big data from the logistics industry in Hong Kong and developing their own innovative and smart logistics solutions.

This event marks the first funded project by the newly launched "Logistics Promotion Funding Scheme," under the Maritime and Aviation Training Fund. I noticed the promotional logo of Government-funded programme printed at the backdrop once I entered the venue. The Scheme is an important initiative to attract young talents to join the logistics industry, as part of the broader "Action Plan for Modern Logistics Development" announced in October last year, and the logo that adopts the “door always open” design also signifies Government’s effort in grooming young talents.

The logo that adopts the “door always open” design (bottom left) signifies Government’s effort in grooming young talents.

Dual-pronged experience through visits and in-person learning

Twenty teams of university students from seven different regions in Asia participated in the competition, including teams from the three places across the Strait, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, and South Korea. The competition started at 8pm on April 2 and ended at 7 am on April 4. Participants pitched their smart logistics solutions to the judges immediately after a 35-hour analysis of the big data obtained from local logistics companies. This process requires interdisciplinary knowledge such as data mining, thorough understanding on the logistics chain, creative data utilization, and data visualization.

Participants visited the Hong Kong International Airport and its surrounding facilities before the start of the competition. Many of them were impressed by the comprehensive smart solutions adopted by the Airport Authority Hong Kong, such as cloud-based control, robotics, and autonomous vehicles.

Mr. Henry Ko, a member of the Hong Kong Logistics Development Council (LOGSCOUNCIL), shared his observations and expertise with the teams. He used his own company's experience in alleviating the "French fries shortage" caused by the pandemic in Japan as an example to explain the impact of logistics solutions on daily life, enabling the students to understand global logistics development trends and better design their solutions.

Participants visit the Hong Kong International Airport and surrounding facilities.

Mr Henry Ko from the Hong Kong Logistics Development Council shares his expert opinions to the teams.

Youth Training Starts from Secondary Schools

Career planning is never too early and seeds could be planted to younger youth in cultivating their interest and talents. In this edition of the "Smart Logistics Datathon," a secondary school category was added, with ten teams from NT Heung Yee Kuk Yuen Long District Secondary School, Cheung Chuk Shan College, Pui Kiu College, St. Paul's Convent School, Methodist College, Hong Kong Chinese Women's Club College, Marymount Secondary School and St. Mary’s Canossian College, participating in the competition.

Currently, there are no transportation and logistics-related courses in the secondary school curriculum. This competition is an opportunity for secondary school students to explore uncharted territory and experience the latest developments and prospects in high-end and high-value-added fields. I hope future editions of the "Smart Logistics Datathon" can accommodate more secondary school teams, thus opening the door for more students to experience the modern logistics industry.

Professor Waiman Cheung(7th from left), the director of the Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics, Members of Hong Kong LOGSCOUNCIL, Miss Amy Chan, Deputy Secretary(5th from left),other guests and I at the Opening Ceremony of Smart Logistics Datathon.

Ms. Mable Chan, Permanent Secretary for Transport and Logistics, congratulates the winning team.

I had a chance to chat with some of the participants at the welcome party before the start of the competition and was impressed by the energy and innovative ideas they have. Pulling an all-nighter is too far away an experience for me. As I looked at different photos of the students along the competition on our Facebook page in the past few days, I realised how different they looked since I had pizza and chatted with them due to exhaustions. However, this transformation is also a testament to their unwavering commitment and dedication throughout the competition.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Asian Institute of Supply Chains & Logistics of CUHK for organizing the "2024 Smart Logistics Datathon" and bringing together university students from different Asian institutions who have a strong interest in modern logistics. I have learned that many students have exchanged Instagram accounts and have become friends. Despite being competitors, I believe that the experience of enduring days of "sleepless nights and mental exertion" will be more memorable than any award they received. I hope that all participants not only gained a deeper understanding of the "smart, innovative, and high-end" image of the modern logistics industry through this experience, but also consider joining us and become the driving force of the logistics industry in Hong Kong.

I exchanges with students from Singapore at the welcome pizza party.

Teams from South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand exchanging Instagram accounts before the competition.

The students sacrifice sleep and meals during the competition.