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Consolidating and enhancing Hong Kong's status as an international maritime centre

This morning, I attended the opening ceremony of the International Union of Marine Insurance 2014 Hong Kong Conference organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Insurers. Held in Hong Kong for the first time, the Conference drew an attendance of over 500 people from the maritime sector around the world.

With the world's centre of economic gravity gradually shifting to the East in recent years, Asia is now playing a pivotal role in the international maritime industry. Naturally, this year's Conference places particular emphasis on the development of maritime services in Asia.

Hong Kong is a major maritime centre for Asia and the world. Here we have a well-established network of maritime services, with international shipping companies providing some 380 liner services a week connecting to some 550 ports worldwide. The Hong Kong Shipping Register is the fourth largest in the world, with a total gross tonnage of over 89 million. Currently, there are more than 700 shipping-related companies in Hong Kong, providing a flotilla of quality maritime services, including ship broking, management and finance, marine insurance, maritime law and arbitration.

The SAR Government is committed to ensuring that Hong Kong remains an international maritime centre. The National 12th Five-Year Plan clearly sets out the country's support for Hong Kong to consolidate and enhance its status as an international centre for shipping. By "enhancing", it means the development of high value-added maritime services, including marine insurance. Indeed, the future of marine insurance in Hong Kong looks promising. Gross premiums of marine and cargo insurance amounted to HK$2.1 billion in 2013, but have already reached HK$1.8 billion in the first half of 2014.

As the country is developing into a great shipping and maritime nation, Hong Kong's maritime industry has great potential to become a new point of growth in our economy. The SAR Government will actively work with the maritime sector to enhance Hong Kong's status as an international maritime centre and to provide more and better career development opportunities for our young people.

September 22, 2014