The 6th Asian Logistics and Maritime Conference held in Hong Kong 22-23 November, attracted around 2,000 delegates and more than 70 speakers. But this year’s ALMC was also special for a number of reasons that will continue to feature into the future.
First, this year will be remembered as the year when ALMC transitioned from the largest logistics and maritime stand-alone event in Hong Kong to the flagship conference and exhibition around which a myriad of maritime-related meetings would take place in the city simultaneously.
In a remarkable example of Government-Hong Kong Trade Development Council cooperation, the format followed this year looks set to be the paradigm going forward as both parties work toward the common aim of promoting Hong Kong as the maritime and logistics hub of choice for the region.
Second, the main themes taken up by the 6th ALMC – China’s Belt and Road initiative, the 13th Five-Year Plan and the latest developments in Cross-border e-commerce – are set to have lasting resonance both in the maritime and logistics spheres in the years ahead.
Belt and Road
Already the largest economic development initiative the world has ever seen, China’s Belt and Road project also has major geopolitical implications that will go on for decades.
Zhao Huxiang, vice chairman of China Merchants Group, a company deeply involved in development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road, through its ports, logistics, shipping and property business strands, was a panellist at this year’s ALMC. He praised the conference for the way it addressed the Belt and Road: “I hope that this will boost Hong Kong’s investment in the Belt and Road initiative in the future, in which Hong Kong can look for opportunities.”
International delegate, and managing director of German business information provider Märkte weltweit, Martin Brueckner, also pointed to Belt and Road as a topic of particular interest:
“This conference is very useful because it offers me a Chinese perspective about the development of the logistics sector,” he said.
“The conference also enables me to learn about the strategic approach of the Hong Kong and Chinese mainland Governments to develop new markets through the Belt and Road initiative.”
As a sign of how ALMC had its finger firmly on the pulse of the future of logistics, Mr Zhao and Mr Brueckner were just two of the many participants who gained much from the sessions covering the emergence of e-commerce, which is currently taking China by storm.
Panel speaker and chief executive of Asia-Pacific, DHL eCommerce, Malcolm Monteiro, also offered special praise for the e-commerce sessions when reviewing the conference.
“The conference is very well-organised. The ambience and level of participation are good. There is a lot of learning out here,” he said,
“Topics like online-to-offline retailing and cross-border e-Commerce are great. I think this conference is one of the most important choices in the maritime industry,” Mr Monteiro added.
A job well done
Praise for the organization, scope, expertise and networking opportunities available at ALMC was unanimous. The reaction of Shaun Stevenson, vice president, Trade Development and Public Affairs, Prince Rupert Port Authority was typical.
“The conference is very well-run and extremely professional.
“I really enjoyed the content and the session I participated in. More importantly, it is an opportunity to network with those who are doing business in the industry and enter into a dialogue on the challenges that continue face the industry. This is a well-developed platform for the whole industry. The quality of the expertise in the panel is the most impressive for me.”
Exhibitors were excited about the business opportunities they were afforded by ALMC. Marie Chantal Savoy, director at Market Innovation, CN, said: “We have met many new clients from around the world at this event and have had very good discussions with them… We will come again next year.”
Fellow exhibitor Delia Pantas, vice president at F2 Logistics envisaged the way forward for her company after visiting ALMC. She said that, through the business matching sessions and forum activities at ALMC her company was able to source enterprises for potential cooperation.
“After this conference, we are looking for opportunities to set up overseas office with new partners,” she added.
For days after ALMC closed its doors on 23 November local and international news outlets such as Lloyds List, Seatrade Maritime News, South China Morning Post, Splash24/7 were still publishing news stories from the event. The information given and the business relationships made at ALMC will endure far longer.
The 7th ALMC will be held 23-24 November 2017.