Hong Kong has been chosen to host the Global Maritime Forum’s inaugural Annual Summit on 3-4 October 2018. The high-level meeting, already coined, “the Davos of shipping”, will convene key industry leaders with policymakers, experts, NGOs and other influential decision-makers and opinion shapers. Their task will be to share their ideas on the challenges facing the maritime industry and to develop practical proposals to optimize global seaborne trade, thereby increasing sustainable long term economic development and human well being.
“We look forward to welcoming the world’s maritime decision-makers to Hong Kong. Like the ocean, the challenges and opportunities that the maritime industry is facing transcend country borders. They are inherently global and the only way to meet them is to join forces and find solutions in unison. The maritime industry is uniquely positioned to contribute to positive change, both for the industry and society” says Frank Chan, Secretary for Transport and Housing of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government.
The Hong Kong Ship Register is the world’s fourth largest ship register. The city is a major port hub and it has a strong presence of ship owners, cargo owners and traders. Over the years, Hong Kong has seen a continual expansion of its maritime service cluster, including ship management, shipbroking, ship finance, maritime insurance and maritime law and arbitration.
“Hong Kong is acknowledged as one of the world’s freest and most competitive economies. Open markets are a prerequisite for the maritime industry to strengthen its role and positive impact on global growth and development. In addition, Hong Kong is a leading maritime hub. This makes Hong Kong an obvious location for the Global Maritime Forum’s inaugural Annual Summit and we are very pleased by the support that we have received from the maritime cluster,” says Peter Stokes, chairman of the Global Maritime Forum.
In its current form the partners of the GMF are with the exception of PSA and the Taiwanes Shipping company Wan Hai Lines, predominantly European. This would appera to have been a key consideration in holding the inaugural summit in Asia. That it will take place in Hong Kong is a feather in the cap of the Hong Kong authorities. It is hopefully a signal that the territory is on the way to recovering its reputation as a place for the global industry to meet, following the success of the two maritime weeks in 2016 and 2017.
The GMF is both the name of the summit and the organization behind the running of the event. The organization appears to have evolved out of the Danish Maritime Forum as recently as 2016. As an international not-for-profit foundation dedicated to unleashing the potential of the global maritime industry it is committed to shaping the future of global seaborne trade to increase sustainable long-term economic growth.
The GMF has set itself some initial initiatives under the umbrella title of the the three D’s: the dirty diesel debate, digital disruption and the Donald. A task force has been set up to tackle decarbonizing shipping and will present its findings at the inaugural summit in Hong Kong in October.
The key task of those addressing digital disruption will be uncovering opportunities for collaborative action to successfully transition to the digital economy. The Donald has been blamed for many of the world’s current uncertainties but for the benefit of the GMF he is the rise of protectionism personified.
Going forward, the Global Maritime Forum’s Annual Summit will be hosted in cities around the world on a rotational basis.