China recognised as world’s leading shipping power

A report unveiled at the German shipping show, SMM yesterday has declared China the World’s leading shipping nation.

The report, compiled by classification society, DNV GL and Menon Economics benchmarks 30 leading maritime nations in four important maritime sectors; shipping, finance and law, maritime technology and port & logistics.

By virtue of China’s strength in all four categories China has been raked as the world’s leading maritime nation.

“The strength of China is overwhelming, particularly on the pillar of ports and logistics, but also in shipping,” said report co-author and Menon Economics managing partner Erik Jakobsen. “It should not surprise us, though, since China is the largest exporting and importing country of the world. The other economic superpower, USA, follows China on the ranking, with major ports and maritime cities both on the east and west coast.”

USA is placed second, scoring high on all four dimensions, followed by Japan. Germany, Norway and South Korea, share the fourth place. Germany’s strength lies in its consistency, with a top five spot in three categories, whereas Norway has its strongest position within Maritime Finance & Law and maritime technology. South Korea scores top in Maritime Technology and is among the top 10 in Shipping and Ports & logistics.

“For the top three maritime nations, the study’s rankings mirror the size of their national economies,” said Shahrin Osman, Regional Head of Maritime Advisory for Southeast Asia, Pacific and India, at DNV GL Maritime, who co-authored both the 2017 and 2018 reports. “Interestingly however, in the joint fourth position of Norway, South Korea, and Greece in the 7th position, we can see that ‘smaller’ countries can still have an outsize influence and importance to the maritime world, due to their traditions, history and innovations. We hope that this report will be a valuable resource for national maritime authorities or governmental ministries, serving as an inspiration, a benchmark, and demonstrating a development path to leadership in the shipping world.”

Such reports are often a source of controversy. DNV GL Menon Economics’ 2017 report entitled Leading Maritime Capitals offered Hong Kong a lowly seventh place overall and did not even award it a top five place for finance and law.

The latest report is due to be published in full in a few days. It is hoped that two important questions will be answered: what was Hong Kong’s contribution to China’s top spot? and how did the USA score high in the shipping category given its measly national fleet, largely confined to Jones Act trading?

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