Hong Kong to enhance status as global shipping hub

Secretary for Justice Teresa Cheng speaks at the World Maritime Merchants Forum on Oct 20, 2021. - HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG (China Daily/Asia News Network): The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region will strengthen its status as an international shipping centre by leveraging advantages in services and development of the Greater Bay Area, officials said here on Wednesday (Oct 20).

"As an international shipping centre with global influence, Hong Kong's shipping industry is highly developed, especially in the sectors of shipping finance, insurance and legal service," Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng said in a video speech at the first World Maritime Merchants Forum held in Hong Kong.

The Ministry of Transport will support Hong Kong proactively in consolidating and upgrading its position as an international shipping centre, and its integration into the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, Li told an audience of international shipping organizations and industry heavyweights.

Teresa Cheng, Secretary of Justice of the HKSAR government, said at the forum that there is a clear shift of maritime and trading activities to the East, meaning a larger demand for maritime-related financial and legal services.

"This trend is inevitable when, out of the world's top 10 container ports, China accounts for seven of them, and three of which are cities of the Greater Bay Area, namely Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Hong Kong," she said.

Hong Kong prides itself as a centre for the provision of services for the maritime industry, and more tax concessions will be introduced to attract maritime shipping firms to establish a business presence in Hong Kong, she said.

She said the 14th Five-Year Plan and the Greater Bay Area development plan explicitly support Hong Kong in consolidating and enhancing its status as a centre for international legal and dispute resolution services in the Asia-Pacific Region.

"With our unique position under these two national policies, Hong Kong's maritime industry and related services have been given new impetus for growth," Cheng said.

Yin Zonghua, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said that the shipping industry has many strengths — the great market resources of the motherland; the location advantage for connecting the world; professional services to provide; as well as an aspiration to innovate.

“As long as Hong Kong is well orientated itself and hastens transformation and upgrading, it can gear up the development of the global shipping industry,” Yin said.

Miao Jianmin, chairman of China Merchants Group, said the shipping industry is facing three key challenges: the imbalance of the supply chain, the need for innovation, and decarbonization. He called for a green ecology in the shipping industry, including balancing the process of decarbonisation among different areas and constituting a fair system on the carbon trade.

The first World Maritime Merchants Forum was initiated by China Merchants Group in association with the Baltic and International Maritime Council, the International Chamber of Shipping, and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association.

Guests from more than 100 enterprises and competent authorities in sectors such as global shipping, ports, logistics, trade, shipbuilding, finance, and maritime services were invited to attend the forum either onsite or online.

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