Optimism is back
The global shipping community is at last beginning to believe that the worse is over and Hong Kong is ready to capitalise on the improved sentiment
After eight years of depressed shipping rates the first quarter of 2017 has shown signs of improvement. It is too early to tell if this will be sustainable but it won’t be for the want of trying. Many shipowners across the world including those in Hong Kong have fought overcapacity and weak demand through ship scrapping, merger and acquisition, the creation of new, more powerful alliances, the enlistment of new energy efficient technologies and ultimately, cost cutting.
Further arming the local maritime sector against adversity the industry and government entered into a new and more intense phase of cooperation.
In April 2016 the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board was established. Comprising industry and government leaders the HKMPB has been tasked with developing and presenting maritime policy initiatives to government and promoting Hong Kong as a maritime cluster internationally.
With the cooperation and sterling assistance of the Hong Kong maritime community, HKMPB gave notice of its intent with the extraordinary Hong Kong Maritime Industry Week in November. The flagship event of the week, the Asia Logistics and Maritime Conference, attracted 2,000 delegates from home and abroad and the 30 satellite events welcomed thousands more. This year the event will again be held in November under the new branding Hong Kong Maritime Week. This year it will incorporate Hong Kong Maritime Awareness Week, a series of educational events promoting the industry to the youth of Hong Kong.
HKMPB has also sponsored a number of promotional visits to other international maritime clusters including Athens, London and Hamburg. Less high profile but equally important has been the efforts of the HKMPB’s Manpower Development Committee to augment the present government-led schemes to encourage Hong Kong students to enter the many marine-related careers available as well as to help facilitate professionals to upgrade their qualifications.
Meanwhile, the Maritime and Port Development Committee continues to examine the development of the port in a time of radical change in liner structures and practices.
But government assistance can only do so much when it comes to the sustainability and growth of a genuine premier maritime cluster. Within the following pages you will discover that the sum of what makes a functionally efficient maritime hub is only greater than the parts when the parts work together in the way they do in Hong Kong.