At maritime forum in HK, shipping sector leaders urge joint efforts for industry upgrade

(Xinhua) 10:24, November 21, 2023

HONG KONG, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- At a time when the global shipping industry is undergoing tremendous headwinds, industry leaders attending an international forum in Hong Kong called for an upgrade in the industry to sail through the hard times.

Themed "Recharging the Maritime Industry," the Hong Kong Maritime Week 2023 opened Monday in Hong Kong, with its flagship event, the third World Maritime Merchants Forum, attracting some 900 maritime experts and professionals.

Addressing the opening ceremony, John Lee, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said that he found the theme of this year's Hong Kong Maritime Week most timely.

"From the disruptions of global supply chains to the change in the spending pattern of customers, the world of maritime is in need of a solution to give the industry a boost. A recharge," he said.

While mounting geopolitical tensions and economic slowdown worldwide dragged down global trade, dampening the demand for maritime activities, the requirement for cutting carbon emissions posed another challenge for the shipping industry, pushing companies to find alternatives to traditional fossil fuels and reduce costs, according to participants at the forum.

Feng Bo, executive vice president of China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited, said that the shipping industry must adapt to the changes and build a new global shipping logistics ecosystem that is green, smart and tech-savvy.

Johannah Christensen, chief executive officer of the Global Maritime Forum, told Xinhua on the sidelines of the forum that China is playing an increasingly important role in the global shipping sector, and it can take advantage of its role in renewable energy to become a global leader in the development of new fuels that the shipping sector now craves for.

In addition to green transition, industry leaders at the forum pointed to technological innovation as a new trend for the shipping industry.

"In the near future, further application of smart technologies will disrupt shipping production and operation. Intelligent ships and autonomous shipping will turn into reality," said Miao Jianmin, chairman of China Merchants Group.

He said while the external environment and business models of the shipping industry may change over time, what stays unchanged should be the joint efforts for greatness.

"The world's great waters are interconnected. The global shipping industry, with deep roots in the ocean, should also connect with one another to jointly respond to the great transformation of our business," he said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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