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International marine companies eye nation for sustained growth

China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-08 08:55
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Visitors gather at the Tianjin International Shipping Industry Expo 2023 held from Nov 16 to 18 in Tianjin. LI RAN/XINHUA

TIANJIN — Herbert Darwin Mangatas, director of PT Gapura Segara Borneo, an Indonesian freight shipping agency, came to China's Tianjin in search of potential business partners.

"There are one or two Chinese companies asking for some collaborations. I hope we can have some dealings," Mangatas said while attending the Tianjin International Shipping Industry Expo 2023.

Themed "Shipping throughout the world, leading the future", the expo was held in Tianjin from Nov 16 to 18 with the aim of promoting the development of the global shipping industry and marine economy.

As the first comprehensive shipping industry exhibition in China, with the most complete list of categories, the three-day expo attracted more than 400 enterprises and well-known global ports from 22 countries and regions. Many participants, like Mangatas, are betting on the vast Chinese market to provide new growth points for their businesses.

Speaking via video link, Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao said the expo is conducive to deepening exchanges and cooperation in the shipping industry, promoting high-quality development of the global shipping industry and encouraging the shipping community to make greater contributions to the development of international trade.

"It is a very important point in time to have this kind of platform event, where we can all connect and exchange our views and our strategies for the future, to serve the global logistics industry even better," said Lars Anke, chief representative Asia-Pacific of Hamburger Hafen und Logistik AG.

Anke believes global logistics is very important for fostering global development.

"We have to deal with the economic situation on a global scale. We at HHLA are working hard to cooperate with our friends in China and all over the world to find solutions for the big challenges we have now in the 21st century," Anke said.

Carol Cui, business development manager of Tianjin-based Ronghua International Logistics, said that after more than a decade of development, the company's overseas logistics network now covers more than 100 countries, with its logistics services covering many aspects of production and life.

"Despite the pressure of declining external demand, our overseas business volume still increased significantly. China's shipping logistics is highly recognized by more and more overseas customers," said Cui. During the event, she received intentions of cooperation from several domestic and foreign companies.

In addition to logistics and trade, China has carried out in-depth global cooperation across the whole shipping industry chain, including global ports cooperation, shipbuilding and ship leasing.

"It's amazing how fast China's shipping industry has moved forward," said Alexander V. Chidiac, managing partner of Iskandar Group, a company that operates and manages fleets of dry-cargo vessels. He looks forward to cooperating with more Chinese shipyards to seek wider opportunities.

In his view, China is one of the few countries today that can provide a full package meeting the requirements of global partners. "It's very interesting to know how China works. With a healthy China, the global shipping industry will remain healthy," Chidiac said.

Moreover, China's economical, green and highly efficient shipbuilding capacity has attracted partners from around the world.

George Xiradakis, president of Hellenic Shipping Finance Association, said that over the past decades, Greek shipowners have ordered around 1,300 ships with an accumulated value of $60 billion from Chinese shipyards. "In the last decade, half of the new Greek ships were built in China," Xiradakis added.

Teo Eng Dih, chief executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said that the maritime industry is rapidly transforming, with many exciting opportunities ahead, especially in the areas of digitalization, innovation and decarbonization.

Green, low-carbon and smart development of the global shipping industry has become the current consensus, said Fu Xuyin, China's vice transport minister.

"In the face of new situations and challenges, we should further build consensus, strengthen cooperation, and jointly promote the healthy and sustainable development of the global shipping industry," Fu noted.


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