Speech by CE at Hong Kong Shipowners Association's 60th Year Anniversary Cocktail Reception (English only)23 November 2017

Following is the speech by the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, at Hong Kong Shipowners Association 60th Year Anniversary Cocktail Reception on November 23:

Jack (Chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (2017-2019), Mr Jack Hsu), Sabrina (former Chairman of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (2015-2017), Ms Sabrina Chao), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening. I am most delighted to be here today to celebrate with you the 60th anniversary of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association during the Hong Kong Maritime Week 2017.

Maritime and port industry has long been an important pillar of Hong Kong's economic growth and development. Strategically located at the heart of Asia, Hong Kong has been a key gateway to China and a centuries old meeting place between East and West. We are an international hub for maritime and shipping businesses, and home to a vibrant community of shipowners. There is a strong base of maritime firms in Hong Kong, providing a cluster of diversified maritime services to shipowners and shipping-related companies all around the globe. These services include marine insurance, maritime legal and arbitration services, ship finance, ship chartering and management, ship broking as well as ship registration.

Over the years, the HKSAR Government is blessed to enjoy pivotal support from the many crucial trade organisations in Hong Kong, including the Hong Kong Shipowners Association. Since its establishment in 1957, the Association has grown from a small group of local shipowners into one of the largest shipowners associations with a renowned reputation both abroad and at home. It has committed to promoting and protecting the interests of shipowners, and has made important contributions to the development of Hong Kong's maritime and shipping industry. To date, members of the Associations together own or manage a large fleet of ships which accounts for almost 10% of the deadweight tonnage of the world's merchant fleet.

It is without doubt that the Government shares the same goal of the Association to maintain and strengthen Hong Kong's position as an international maritime centre. As many of you may know, we officially established the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board ("the Board") in April last year. Throughout the past 18 months, the Board has been working in full steam, striving to implement facilitation measures for the industry, nurture qualified and professional maritime talents and promote Hong Kong's strengths as a preferred base for maritime business. With the Board serving as a platform for collaboration between the Government and the industry, I am confident that Hong Kong's maritime and port development will continue to thrive.

To this end, I have featured a number of initiatives relevant to the maritime sector in this year's Policy Address. Apart from joining hands with all of you in formulating holistic strategies for the further development of the maritime and port industry through the Board, we will explore and implement initiatives and measures to create a conducive environment for the industry, and seek to develop Hong Kong into an international arbitration centre for disputes arising from maritime businesses.

Looking ahead, immense business opportunities are unleashed from the Belt and Road Initiative and the development of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area promulgated by the Central Authority. With the staunch support from the Central People's Government to reinforce Hong Kong's position as an international transportation hub, those are abundant opportunities for Hong Kong's maritime and shipping industry to further flourish and prosper.

On this note, may I convey my warmest congratulations to the Hong Kong Shipowners Association on celebrating its 60th anniversary. I would also like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to the Association for your staunch support and dedication to the economic development of Hong Kong. I wish the Association and all its members continued success and new achievements in the future. Thank you.