The overall sluggish shipping market of today can look forward to the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative as a long term catalyst for growth, InterManager’s first Chinese member has told Dispatch.
According to Forgitos Assistant President, Eva Dai, Chinese importers and exporters are now visited smaller Asia and African countries in favour of Europe and the United States. The reason for this, she suspects, is down to the individual governments, who actively encourage and get involved in meetings and events to promote and secure sustainable trade.
The role of the government is central to China’s presence in the shipping industry and widely regarded as the biggest industry in China. This is evident when you speak to maritime organisations which employ former government officials as advisors.
Speaking of how China’s state-owned shipping companies succeed in a competitive global environment Ms Dai said: “The major players in the Chinese shipping industry are similar to the army in the sense that these companies will follow government industries very well. The ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative will add more gravitas to both state-owned and private shipping companies in the next five years.
China is considered an influential maritime centre of the Asia region, and as a result, Chinese investors benefitting from the growth in our shipping markets are looking further afield to investing in Asia as the global maritime centre.”
With Chinese investment becoming a familiar sight on the landscape of global shipping, you could be forgiven for thinking Chinese ship and crew managers do not want change. However, according to Ms Dai: “Big fish eat small fish. The same is true in China as it is around the world. This year alone we have seen shipmanagement consolidation increase dramatically. Is this avoidable? Probably not in the long term. But what we must do is work out how we can all work together to achieve realistic and achievable objectives.”
As we look back on 2016 as the ‘year that was’, Ms Dai looks towards 2017 as the year where ship managers and owners should form alliances with industry experts to address ballast water management, crew retention, safety and securities, and environmental issues.