Leading the Trend | The First World Maritime Merchants Forum Held in Hong Kong
20 October 2021 - The First World Maritime Merchants Forum (the "Forum") which was initiated by China Merchants Group (CMG) in association with the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), and the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA), was held in Hong Kong.
With the theme "Leading the Trend", participants from around the world attended the Forum either onsite or online. The event was held at Hong Kong Ocean Park Marriott Hotel and live-streamed on the official website of the Forum (www.wmmhk.com).
Guests from more than 100 enterprises and competent authorities in sectors such as global shipping, ports, logistics, trade, shipbuilding, finance, and maritime services were invited.
An opening video was also shown to elaborate on the theme "Leading the Trend" with respect to three dimensions, namely, characteristics of the current shipping industry, its challenges, and the expectations on the future development of the industry.
A video speech was delivered by Li Xiaopeng, the Minister of Transport, during the Forum. Being an important driver to the economic cycle and globalization of the nation, entities in the shipping industry must work together with an attitude that stresses openness, extensive mutual trust, construction and sharing, and to promote a higher level of interconnection and integration within the industry. Based on the "hard connectivity" of infrastructure and the "soft connectivity" of policies, rules, and standards, as added by Li Xiaopeng, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will be built in line with high-quality standards. The shipping industry shall be driven by innovations and sustainability, and more support shall be given to international organizations, such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the ICS, so that they can give better play to their roles. Besides, the shipping industry must be committed to innovation and sustainable development by speeding up the establishment of an innovation-driven mechanism that is led by technological innovation, and to promote.
Yin Zonghua, Deputy Director of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region made a speech. Yin Zonghua believes that shipping is the backbone of the world's economy, and it carries 90% of the world's trade traffic. China is now building a new development pattern and advancing with a higher level of development quality in the "Belt and Road Initiative", which will bring infinite vitality and broad room for the development of the global shipping industry. The industry should seize the opportunity provided by China's ambitions, and gain substantial returns from participating in the process. Yin Zonghua also pointed out that, developing a model that circulates around low-carbon, green, digital, and intelligence is becoming the dominant trend of the international shipping industry in the new era. The National 14th Five-Year Plan and the Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area have clearly stated that Hong Kong must be consolidated and upgraded to be an international shipping center as the City's existing infrastructures have provided a market advantage that is backed by the motherland and a geographical advantage on its tight connection with the world, the provision of systematic and comprehensive professional services, as well as its pioneering and innovative spirit in the market. As long as the right direction is adopted for developing such transformation and industrial upgrading, shall a bright future be coming soon. As affected by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Yin Zonghua said that the global economic recession, arising of trade protection and other underlying factors, have brought to the shipping industry tremendous difficulties. Only by adhering to the concept of openness in cooperation and mutual benefit, can we effectively face and overcome such risks and challenges. It is hoped that all parties shall make full use of the World Aviation Conference which is a valuable platform to strengthen exchanges of ideas and make great efforts on contributing themselves to the recovery and development of the world economy.
Miao Jianmin, Chairman of China Merchants Group made a speech with the title of "Creating a fairer, more efficient, more resilient and greener new global shipping ecosystem". Miao Jianmin pointed that the world is witnessing major changes. The megatrends and ecosystem of the shipping industry have encountered bottlenecks and obstacles.Specifically, they took on three characteristics. The first is the unbalanced development of the industry structure as shown by the increasing volatility of the industry. The second characteristics is the inadequate response capacity. The technical capability of the industry is inadequate. The third characteristics is disharmony in the ecological environment. Miao held that Science and technology are changing with each passing day. New technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain are constantly emerging. It demonstrate the broad application prospects of digital and intelligent shipping, and show the entire industry chain the value of technological innovation for the industry's development and its potential impact on the business landscape. In recent years, shipping has made progress in decarbonization. But in the long run, it is still a complicated mission with many challenges. Shipping practitioners must pay more attention to collaboration and communication than ever before, keep an open and mutually beneficial mind, and aim for coexistence and coprosperity. We need to reorganize industry resources, such as information, capital and cargo flows, expand the "spotty cooperation" in the industry chain to "linear cooperation", and strive to improve the industry chain's resilience to risk. He hopes that the WMMF can provide shipping practitioners a place for discussion, a set of mechanisms for communication and consultation, a community that focuses on consensus within the industry, and a platform for pragmatic cooperation, and also contribute to the creation of a new harmonious shipping ecosystem and the progress of the global shipping industry.