Hong Kong: The shipowner’s city

Time Huxley, Wah KwongShipping is part of Hong Kong’s DNA. Long before the port on the South China coast became the vibrant, global financial centre it is today, shipping was in it’s blood. Fishermen and pirates had been here centuries ago, whilst throughout the twentieth century, Hong Kong seafarers manned ships trading the world. It was the influx of migrants from China, particularly from Shanghai in 1949, which gave birth to the shipping dynasties which made Hong Kong a truly global maritime centre. The legacies of the Tung, Pao, Chao, Koo, Tsao dynasties, to name just five, are as strong today as they have ever been and continue to be the bedrock of an industry which is not just proud of its past, but committed to its future.

Hong Kong’s shipping scene in the 21st century is much changed, but the Special Administrative Region remains the ideal place from which to run a shipowning enterprise. A pro-business government with a hands-off approach in a tax friendly environment certainly helps, but coupled with Hong Kong’s cherished Rule of Law and the free flow of capital and information, Hong Kong can rightly lay claim to being one of the most attractive cities from which to run a business anywhere in the world. These factors alone would prove attractive to any shipowner looking to base themselves in the heart of the engine room of world growth, and a city which boasts an unrivalled connectivity to the rest of Asia and beyond.

There is, however, so much more to the “Hong Kong Advantage”. Our shipping services are unrivalled, with many of the world’s leading ship financiers, lawyers, technical managers, brokers and insurers calling Hong Kong home or at the very least having a major presence here. But it is more than just a presence these service providers have, they are very much part of a vibrant, active community. Attend one of the numerous shipping social functions in Hong Kong, particularly the gatherings of the renowned Hong Kong Shipowners Association, and you quickly see that Hong Kong’s shipping community is made up of a hugely diverse group of individuals all bonded by a common passion for the industry, a group who put the time in to get to know each other and for whom personal accessibility is not just an advantage, but a pleasurable part of business life.

People are proud to work in the shipping industry in Hong Kong and an experienced, loyal work force across the whole spectrum of shipping, together with a commitment to bring on the next generation of talent, are cornerstones of why this is such an attractive place to run a shipping company. Hong Kong is not just depending on its historical shipowners, many of whom are now transferring seamlessly to the next generation, for its future. Plenty of new shipping enterprises are springing up, initiated by individuals who have experienced the unique environment of Hong Kong, seen what it has to offer, and who by the success of their young companies will continue to provide plenty of evidence that the “Hong Kong Advantage” is alive and well.

Tim Huxley
Chief Executive
Wah Kwong Shipping