Welcome speech by PST at Lloyd's List Hong Kong Innovation Forum 2019 (English only)20 November 2019

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to be here at the Lloyd’s List Hong Kong Innovation Forum today. This is the third time Lloyd’s List organises the business forum in Hong Kong. My heartfelt thanks to the organiser for providing a platform which brings wise minds across the globe to share ideas and insights. My heartfelt thanks indeed, to each and everyone of you. Your presence is a vote of confidence in Hong Kong, in what Hong Kong stands for.

Today’s forum topic is “Technology Reaches Beyond Regulatory Compliance”. One of the most imminent regulatory requirements facing the maritime industry is the 2020 sulphur cap introduced by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). At the same time, the trade has also been working to meet the 2050 “zero-emission” target. This is an ambitious target, but one which is necessary for our future. And because of the long lead time on ship design, ship building and so on, the target date does mean that operators will have just a few years to design vessels with clean engines or other suitable devices which would then run for decades to come. With the clock ticking, it is becoming more and more pressing for all concerned to come up with innovative solutions. Collaboration between governments and the industry is the key.

However, regulatory compliance should not be the only motivation that drives technological change in the industry. Shipping leaders are facing challenges of many sorts. These include rising operational and fuel costs, market volatility, increasingly high public expectation on crew safety and security, as well as environment protection. All this demands the trade to look for digital and creative solutions. Fleet data analytics, predictive maintenance solution, artificial intelligence, automation and blockchain and so on are among the top-listed solutions being actively considered by the trade.

In Hong Kong, the Government attaches huge importance to the development of innovation and technology. Over the years, we have committed HK$100 billion to develop IT infrastructure, promote research and development, nurture IT local talents and attract international expertise to Hong Kong.

The shipping community in Hong Kong has also been supporting technological advancement in various aspects. To cite a few examples, Anglo-Eastern Ship Management is deploying virtual and augmented reality technology in cadets training. Fleet Management is making use of increased digitalisation and online monitoring on board vessels to track vessel’s fuel consumption and increase the reliability of equipment on board vessels. Another example is Hutchison Ports, which has launched a remote-controlled rubber-tyred gantry crane and automated container-stacking system to provide a safer and more efficient working environment for their staff. The use of technological solutions is not the monopoly of the bigger or more established companies. We have, for example, local start-ups such as Neptune Robotics which employs underwater drones to inspect and clean a ship’s hull. These examples demonstrate Hong Kong shipping community’s readiness and willingness to embrace new ideas.

Someone once said, “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not”. Today, we are very honoured to have notable leaders and players of the industry here to share with us their crazy ideas. The more such crazy ideas, the better the hope for a better future for the industry, and to trade and commerce. Without further ado, let me hand over the stage to the panelists. Thank you.