Hong Kong maritime industry urged to be green and smart

The Hong Kong government is committed to strongly encourage the local maritime industry to use clean energy, while stimulating the development of smart ports initiatives for operational efficiency.

“As we seek to develop our maritime industry, we have not forgotten our commitment to sustainability,” said Hong Kong Managing Director Carrie Lam. “We have already announced the goal for Hong Kong to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. As part of our decarbonization drive, we are encouraging industry players to adopt more sustainable shipping initiatives. As you all know, Hong Kong was the first city in Asia to impose a fuel change requirement for ocean-going vessels. ”

Hong Kong Executive Director Carrie Lam virtually addressing ALMAC delegates.

In his speech at the 11th edition of the Asian Logistics, Maritime & Aviation Conference (ALMAC) held in Hong Kong last week, Lam also reiterated the need to use innovative technologies, even as the city ​​continues to improve maritime services – including ship financing, marine insurance, maritime legal and arbitration services, ship agency and management, and ship brokerage – through the provision of economic incentives such as tax breaks and workforce training.

With over 150 years of maritime heritage and robust international connectivity, Hong Kong has one of the top 10 container ports in the world, as well as a transshipment hub in the region. There are some 280 weekly container ship crossings, connecting more than 600 destinations around the world.

At the same ALMAC event, Frank Chan, Hong Kong Secretary of Transport and Housing, reiterated the importance of adapting innovative technologies to maintain the city’s leading position as a global hub for logistics, shipping and aviation.

“The future of modern logistics will be smart and technology-driven. Automation, AI, big data and digitization are essential,” Chan said, adding that to help achieve this strategic goal, the government of Hong Kong has HK $ 300 million. funding program to encourage logistics service providers to apply technological solutions to improve productivity.

COVID-19 and hit the reset button

Panelists at the “New Trade Order and Evolving Intermodal Networks in Asia-Pacific” conference session noted that the current pandemic has amplified seismic shifts in the supply chain where it is becoming more regional than global, a trend in particular. visible in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kelvin Leung, CEO of DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific, said many issues, such as port congestion and traffic congestion, were happening even before the pandemic. Even before COVID-19, many industries and businesses had rethought how to position their supply chain, supply models, manufacturing models, etc., with a focus on improving the transparency of their chain. supply chain and the resilience of the supply chain model.

“Digitization is going to change the way we operate in the future, and ESG is becoming more and more important as our industry creates a lot of emissions, and we need to fix that,” Leung said.

Kelvin Leung, CEO, DHL Global Forwarding Asia Pacific (right) and Joseph Phi, CEO of Li & Fung Group (left)

Raymond Fung, director of trade at Orient Overseas Container Line, said companies have had to step up the dialogue with each customer and also had to respond to some SMEs that they would not have dealt with before in the past two years. As service providers, he said shipping companies have to live with what the customer wants and adapt accordingly.

“For example, we use large vessels, as long as they are seaworthy, to do short haul trips for some customers,” he said. With the growth of e-commerce and the use of artificial intelligence by some carriers and customers, he hoped that it would be easier to forecast demand, with shipping companies able to offer different sizes of ships and different routes to better respond to customers. requirements.

According to Joseph Phi, CEO of Li & Fung Group, the supply chain has established itself as “invisible” to shippers, but is now at the forefront.

“We have growing demand, rising transportation costs, manufacturing delays, port congestion, labor shortages, trade disputes, trade policies, inflation, etc., so that the whole supply chain faces the perfect storm, ”he said at the conference

“The most progressive companies do things to create value in their supply chains. The general theme they adopted is that they hit the reset button, concluding that the pandemic is a perfect opportunity to reset their strategies and refresh the way they execute their strategies, so they are doing their best to make it happen. their supply chains more resilient and agile, ”added Phi.

The future of smart air freight

Meanwhile, the same supply chain disruptions are plaguing the air cargo segment of the logistics industry amid the pandemic, even as the volume of air cargo has grown significantly and is expected to be nearly a third. airline operating revenues.

To keep their operations transparent, industry players have deployed technologies to work their way through their supply chains years before the pandemic struck.

According to Victor Mok, CEO – Asset Service Platform at GLP China, Chinese logistics providers implemented digital solutions five to 10 years ago to improve digital transparency and security of freight movements.

Cross-border e-commerce has significantly accelerated progress in this area, he said.

“Digitization is a big word, but it doesn’t just mean moving things like processes from paper to online platforms. This is just the first small step, ”added Mok. “The key is how to optimize processes, using technology and data to improve processes and therefore efficiency and transparency, to make better decisions than in the past. “

Victor Mok, CEO, Asset Service Platform, GLP China (left, on screen) and Mark Slade, Managing Director, DHL Global Forwarding Hong Kong & Macau (second from right)

Mark Slade, managing director of DHL Global Forwarding Hong Kong & Macau, noted that up to 60% of supply chain disruptions are not from direct suppliers, but more upstream from second and third tier suppliers.

“At DHL, we use an analytical tool to enable companies to dig deeper into the supply chain and identify risks with suppliers who are actually two or three levels of their operations,” Slade said.

The annual ALMAC is jointly organized by the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. It is a flagship event of Hong Kong Maritime Week. This year’s conference attracted more than 11,200 viewers from some 60 countries and regions. They included attendees from Hong Kong, mainland China, newcomers from Mexico, Nigeria, Romania and more, highlighting how the event provided networking opportunities across the globe.

A new physical and virtual exhibition showcased different logistics technologies, including 5G technology for warehouse management, smart logistics solutions, international payment solutions and the latest smart port developments, connecting attendees to the best business solutions.