Central govt officials pledge full support in improving city’s transportation status

CPPCC National Committee Vice-Chairman Leung Chun-ying (front row, fourth from right) and Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu (front row, fourth from left) join guests for a group photo at the 2022 World Maritime Merchants Forum on Tuesday. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)

Hong Kong should develop its competitive advantages in the shipping industry so as to elevate the city’s role in upgrading the global shipping industry value chain, political heavyweights and industry stakeholders concurred at the 2022 World Maritime Merchants Forum.

With the theme “Together for a Brighter Future”, the forum was hosted by the China Merchants Group and other organizers, and featured discussions on topics related to the shipping industry amid economic downturns, rising pressure from global inflation, and the need for sustainable development. More than 500 online and offline participants from the maritime and commercial sectors joined the forum on Tuesday.

“Given the Belt and Road Initiative, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Plan, and many other regional, national and multilateral arrangements, Hong Kong is a significant trading and transportation hub,” said Leung Chun-ying, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference.

The vice-chairman noted that the shipping industry should be knowledgeable about the latest developments in political and economic situations across the world. Shipping industry players in Hong Kong should embrace new shipping rules, new business models, new business environments, and new research-input applications, he said.

“Hong Kong should continue to develop its competitive advantages in shipping resources, innovate service models, and enhance ‘value-addedness’, to maintain the leadership in industrial development,” Leung highlighted.

The aim, he envisages, is to create a new shipping industry ecosystem: “Hong Kong’s networking capabilities will bring forth new rules, headquarters of new institutions, and new technologies and industries in the new round of global technological revolution and industrial transformation.” 

Hong Kong Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said “the HKSAR government will continue to proactively entrench Hong Kong’s strengths by further developing our high value-added maritime services” by attracting more high-quality maritime businesses to Hong Kong, nurturing maritime talents, as well as actively promoting the development of a smart port and a sustainable industry. Nearly 900 shipping-related enterprises have established a presence in the city.

“We are well-placed to provide a platform for international exchange on the future of the shipping and maritime sector,” the chief executive noted.

As one of the 10 busiest ports in the world, Hong Kong’s shipping industry carries nearly 90 percent of the volume of the city’s external merchandise trade, and trade and logistics accounts for one-fifth of the city’s gross domestic product, Lee said.

“The Ministry of Transport is willing to work with the Hong Kong SAR government to consolidate Hong Kong’s status as an international shipping center,” Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Transport Dai Dongchang said in the forum via a pre-recorded speech.

Yin Zonghua, deputy director of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong SAR, said: “Under the unique advantage of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy, Hong Kong has the strong support of the country while being closely connected to the world. The central government strongly supports Hong Kong to maintain its unique position and advantages.”

China Merchants Group Chairman Miao Jianmin said there is a need to build a shipping industry ecology, improve the rationality of industrial resources layout, apply technologies, and promote low-carbon emissions reduction as new development opportunities in the process of restructuring global supply chains.