Promoting international shipping cooperation is of great importance in ensuring the smooth flow of global logistics supply chains and boosting the global economy amid an increasingly complex market environment, officials and industry players said at the second World Maritime Merchants Forum in Hong Kong on Tuesday.
Delivering his speech at the opening session of the two-day event, Dai Dongchang, vice-minister of the Ministry of Transport, equated transport with the artery of an economy and a bond between civilizations, saying the shipping industry, as an important part of transportation, plays an irreplaceable role in serving world economic development and global trade.
Dai said China stands ready to work with other countries to promote global shipping cooperation as well as strengthen connectivity in both infrastructure and systems to keep industrial and supply chains secure and smooth.
China has become the most connected country in shipping, boasting the world's second-largest maritime team, Dai told the forum. "China cannot develop itself in isolation from the rest of the world while the world also needs China for its prosperity," he said.
Last month, the Global Sustainable Transport Innovation and Knowledge Center was established as the country's key move to support the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Dai said the country will give full scope to the center's functions as an international think tank, cooperation showcase and people-to-people exchange platform to promote the sustainable development of global connectivity.
Addressing the same event, China Merchants Group Chairman Miao Jianmin said variables such as macroeconomics, geopolitics, the COVID-19 pandemic and supply chain restructuring have greatly increased the difficulty of controlling the shipping market's current operating rhythm.
It is crucial to promote the upstream and downstream of transport, trade, ports and other industry chains to give full play to their respective advantages and carry out long-term, stable and effective cooperation to jointly build an "open, inclusive, cooperative and win-win" shipping ecosystem, Miao said.
He also suggested that stakeholders make full use of digital applications and promote green shipping to look for new opportunities in the process of restructuring the global supply chain.
On top of geopolitical tensions and unpredictable markets, decarbonization is also a "grand challenge" that compounds the maritime industry's transformation path, which requires collaboration across the value chain to find solutions, said Knut Orbeck-Nilssen, chief executive officer of DNV Maritime — a Norway-headquartered classification society and advisor to the shipping industry.
Decarbonization, the process of reducing carbon emissions, is defining not only the industry's regulatory agenda but also the environmental, social and governance revolution, he said.
"It is a task that not one player nor even one industry can resolve in isolation. We simply can't do it alone," he said. "China is crucial in this transition. We expect to see many initiatives originating and developing here."
Themed "Together for a Brighter Future", the maritime forum was hosted by China Merchants Group and other organizers, featuring four parallel sub-forums for the shipping market, ports, logistics, and shipbuilding and repair, as well as over 50 livestreaming panel discussions.
Some 120 industry organizations and companies from more than 50 countries and regions spanning the maritime and commercial sectors joined the forum.