British business has been showcased to some of China’s most influential maritime figures and prime businesses during an evening of high-level events at China’s biggest maritime trade fair Marintec.
A British delegation to the show, featuring exhibitors and attendees, took part in a UK-China Sustainability Excellence forum attracting more than 100 guests before attending a gala dinner, marking 150 years of Lloyds Register operating in China, with 170 guests at the Kerry Hotel. The events were organised by the UK Department of International Trade together with the voice UK maritime engineering, the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI), in partnership with Lloyds Register.
Tom Chant business development director at SMI, which has led the organisation of the UK pavilion with DIT, said the events underlined how serious the UK is about trading with China. He said the forum saw a mix of British business, including SMI members, large and small, network with key Chinese companies including China’s two main state-owned shipbuilding companies, China State Shipbuilding Co (CSSC) and China Shipbuilding Industry Co (CSIC) which recently announced a merger creating the largest shipbuilder in the world as well as China’s biggest shipping line Cosco. Meanwhile, during the panel discussion, two leading Chinese companies the ship owning conglomerate China Merchandise Group and port technology company ZPMC joined British speakers from London headquartered ship brokers Clarksons and Surrey-based Chelsea Technologies, a designer and manufacturer of environmental monitoring equipment, to discuss the future of the industry in a discussion moderated by Lloyds Register.
“Our aim is to plug UK businesses into decision makers in China’s primary maritime companies,” he said. “With around 40pc of global shipbuilding deliveries in 2019 commanded by China this is the key market in the world for marine technology companies. And while the ships may be built here the overwhelming value of the ships, up to 85pc, is in their technology – and therein lies the opportunity for British companies. UK businesses excel at engineering excellence and innovation in key areas such as decarbonisation and digital technology and this is what Chinese shipbuilders want – the best in class.”
Emma Johnson maritime manager of Chelsea Technologies, who took part in the forum panel, said the profile opportunity was valuable in growing awareness of the firm’s offering.
“China is the key market for what we do as so much of the scrubber manufacturing and innovation is here or in Korea,” she said. “DIT is really helping us in market and it was great to speak at the forum as well as take part in the UK pavilion. DIT has contacts here we just do not have. But working with DIT we can showcase the strength of our company which has been trading 55 years and is part of the Sonardyne Group. A big message we have been able to communicate at the forum, and at Marintec, is that we can develop tailor-made bespoke solutions for the Chinese market.”
Chant said it was encouraging to see UK businesses, including many SMI members network with the leading names in the Chinese maritime sector reflecting the hard work undertaken by DIT and the UK Government to build relationships with China’s maritime sector and Government.
“We must thank all our Chinese guests for taking the trouble to attend the events and special thanks and congratulations go to our member Lloyds Register for staging the gala dinner and inviting the British delegation to join their celebrations of 150 years in China. Lloyds reflect the very best of British business in China and are a trailblazer for the next generation of exporters looking to do business in this magnificent market. We encourage more British maritime businesses to explore the Chinese market working with DIT maritime team and SMI in London. We hold many events and seminars as well as trade missions to help businesses crack the Chinese market.”
Other British companies taking part in the UK pavilion include ICE Design, an Isle of Man based ship designer, Rivertrace a Surrey based water quality monitoring specialist, Trelleborg UK whose UK headquarters is in North Wales, HENSOLDT and Riviera Maritime Media, the maritime publisher, Crowcon an Oxford based gas detection company and Ampac a Hampshire fire detection and alarm company. Elsewhere, UK delegates and exhibitors included European Diesel Services, a Wigan ship engine specialist, Suffolk and Merseyside based propeller specialist Stone Marine and Merseyside maritime marketing firm Polaris Media.
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