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Hong Kong investing $2.5m to promote maritime services sector

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HONG KONG : The Hong Kong Govt has allocated HK$20m ($2.5m) in its 2023 – 24 budget to promote the high-end maritime service industry sector.

In his budget speech Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan said with Hong Kong’s position as a prominent international maritime centre they were committed to raising the industry’s competitiveness.

“In order to further promote the development of Hong Kong as an international maritime centre, the Transport and Logistics Bureau will set up a task force with the aim of putting forward, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board and representatives of the high‑end maritime services industry, an action plan on the following strategies by the end of this year,” he said.

These strategies include enhancing sectors such as ship finance, marine insurance, maritime arbitration and ship management, where Hong Kong has traditionally been strong but has come under increasing competition from Singapore and other locations.

Strategies also include transformation to zero emission for the sector, promoting diigitalisation, and promoting collaboration in the Greater Bay Area (GBA) and around the world.

“I will earmark HK$20 million to expedite studies on strategies for promoting the high‑end maritime service industry and enhance exchanges among industries in the international arena and the GBA,” the Financial Secretary said.

He added that Hong Kong Maritime Week would also be expanded.

Hong Kong’s maritime community has long been frustrated by the lack of direct government support for the industry, while the likes of Singapore and Dubai have invested heavily in promoting shipping and attracting companies to set up shop.

A lengthy exit from the Covid pandemic, which required mandatory hotel quarantine for arrivals until the end of September 2022, also battered Hong Kong’s business hub status.

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