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STH responds to 2014 Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Centre Development Index Report

     The Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, today (June 27) made a response to the 2014 Xinhua-Baltic Exchange International Shipping Centre Development Index Report, released in Shanghai yesterday (June 26), in which Hong Kong was ranked third.

     Hong Kong is both a prominent international maritime centre and the leading hub port in the region. Not only is Hong Kong geographically a gateway to southern China, it has also been a launching pad for international shipping companies to extend their business into the fast developing China market.

     "With our friendly business environment, a judicial system practising common law and the free flow of capital and information, Hong Kong is often the ideal Asian city to look for different kinds of maritime services for international shipping companies whose business operations involve China or other parts of Asia," said Professor Cheung.

     There is at present a maritime cluster of about 700 shipping-related companies operating in Hong Kong, providing a variety of quality maritime services ranging from ship agencies and management, ship finance, maritime law and arbitration services, ship broking, marine insurance to port-related operations.

     Professor Cheung added, "Hong Kong has mature and quality maritime services, and is well placed to support the Mainland China to develop as a world shipping power. The Central Authorities have clearly indicated support under the National 12th Five-Year Plan for Hong Kong to reinforce and enhance its status as an international maritime centre, and to develop into a high-value goods inventory management and regional distribution centre.

     "Looking ahead, we will strive to assume the strategic position of a maritime services and talent hub, as well as becoming the springboard for more maritime companies in the Mainland to enter the international market, and vice versa. We will also provide input to the formulation of the National 13th Five-Year Plan along this direction."

     Capitalising on its geographical and institutional advantages, Hong Kong is moving towards high value-added services and a knowledge-based economy, matching up with the rapid economic development in Asia and the global development trend.  

     According to the recent Consultancy Study on Enhancing Hong Kong's Position as an International Maritime Centre, Hong Kong has advantages in soft power. At the regional level, Hong Kong has the potential to congregate a diversity of high value-added maritime services, including ship registration, management, finance, marine insurance, and maritime law and arbitration, and further become the preferred base in Asia for international maritime business.

     To strengthen the institutional set-up and dedicate human resources to drive proactively the industry development, the consultant proposed setting up a new statutory maritime body to propel the long-term development of the maritime industry in Hong Kong, including undertaking policy research, supporting manpower training, and conducting marketing and promotion regionally and internationally. The Transport and Housing Bureau is following up on the recommendation and will study in detail the structure, functions, mode of operation and funding arrangements of the new statutory maritime body. The industry and Legislative Council will be consulted later.

Ends/Friday, June 27, 2014
Issued at HKT 17:46


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