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Manpower Dynamics. Data Intelligence

Maritime Services

Ocean Going; River Trade; Local Vessel; Shore Based; ...

Covers :
1. Ocean Going
   - Ship agents and managers; overseas shipping companies
   - Ship owners of sea-going vessels
   - Operators of sea-going vessels
   - Ship owners and managers of ocean going vessels
2. River Trade
   - Ship owners and operators of vessels moving between Hong Kong and the ports in Pearl River Delta
3. Local Vessel
   - Inland water transport
   - Mid-stream operation
   - Yacht club
4. Shore Based
   - Container terminal and marine cargo terminal operators; port facilities operators
   - Shipbrokers
   - Classification societies; consultants and surveyors
   - Marine equipment; shipbuilders and repairers
   - Marine insurance
   - Maritime law
   - Ship finance
   - Ship registration and port authorities
   - Other maritime services

Maritime Services Inner Banner

Business Outlook

The maritime services industry is a highly competitive global industry. Although Hong Kong has proactively promoted its high-ended maritime services in recent years to serve as an impetus to the further growth of the local shipping industry, Hong Kong has been lagging behind other leading global maritime centres including Singapore, London and Shanghai in areas like marine insurance, arbitration and ship building. Moreover, the fierce competition among leading maritime centres is not confined to business opportunities, but to talents as well. A brain drain of local maritime professionals to London and Singapore was noticed in the past few years.

The most impactful regulatory requirement in the industry is the International Maritime Organisation (IMO)’s Greenhouse Gas (GHS) Strategy. Shipowners will need to cut annual GHS emissions from international shipping by at least half by 2050, compared with their level in 2008. It is expected that the introduction of alternative fuels will play a key role in the ultimate goal of achieving emissions reduction. Apart from the ocean going sector, the local vessel sector also faces the challenge of tight regulations. After the Lamma Island Ferry Collision in 2012, the Marine Department has strengthened various measures to enhance maritime safety by phases, e.g. mandating local vessels exceeding specified carrying capacities to use an automatic identification system, a radar and a very high frequency (VHF) radiotelephone, requiring the presence of crew members qualified to use the radar and VHF radiotelephone. As the local vessel sector has been facing acute labour shortage, these additional requirements put a strain on the already stretched workforce.

Among various forms of technological innovations, the wave of ferries powered by electricity is worth particular attention. To promote the use of green transportation technologies in local ferries, the Government subsidised local ferry operators to construct electric ferries and the associated charging facilities. The new electric ferries are expected to be put into operation in a year or two. Crew members will need to get familiarised with the new control systems, charging facilities and maintenance procedures to optimise the performance and safety of these new ferries. Older employees who are less tech-savvy may find it hard to keep up with the new technology.

Yacht has been gaining popularity in Hong Kong, as reflected by the increase in the number of licensed pleasure vessels from 7,920 in 2012 to 11,767 in 2021. A Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao individual yacht travel scheme was piloted in 2017. The three governments concerned are pushing forward the implementation of an individual yacht travel scheme in the Greater Bay Area.
It is also observed that the new generation yacht owners tend to expect a higher level of service, probably because they have experienced high-ended services in European and American countries. It is anticipated that there will be a growing manpower demand for certified pleasure vessel operators and serving staff on board the yachts, as well as the need for more comprehensive yacht management services.
Over the past few years, the HKSAR Government has implemented a number of tax concessionary measures to enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness in attracting clusters in the maritime industry. The Government has enhanced the services of the Hong Kong Ship Registry by setting up Regional Desks in selected overseas and mainland Economic and Trade Offices. Efforts have also been made by the Government to bring in and groom talents to support the long-term development of the industry, like the proposed Maritime Services Traineeship Scheme stated in the 2022 Policy Address and the inclusion of three marine professions into the Talent List.
In the face of increasing competition from other international maritime centres, often with strong government assistance, the industry hope the HKSAR Government could continue its proactive role in attracting commercial principals to Hong Kong so as to build up a bigger clientele for local industry players.