“Shipping is an irreplaceable business and essential to global trade,” said Sabrina Chao, executive chairman of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings Ltd.
“While much has changed in the last 10 years since the financial crisis, goods still need to be transported across the globe and we are optimistic about the future and our ability to support the development of the maritime industry.”
In recognition of her contribution to the industry, Chao was recently named Connecticut Maritime Association Commodore for 2018.
“I was honored to accept the award as we engaged with our North American friends, and on a personal level, I enjoyed taking part in an all-female maritime discussion panel.”
From Hong Kong to the rest of the world, Wah Kwong has long played an important role in the global maritime industry. Chao’s grandfather T.Y. Chao established Wah Kwong in 1952 and in line with Japan’s postwar industrial growth, grew the company’s fleet.
Minimizing exposure to market volatility, Wah Kwong’s first ships were affixed to long-term time charters, mainly to Japanese charterers.
“Our very first newbuilds were built in Japan and we still have close ties with Japanese shipyards and trading houses,” said Chao. “We have continued to strengthen our friendships in Japan and always enjoy visiting. Each Japanese city offers visitors something very special that symbolizes Japan’s diversity and cultural vibrancy. We want to encourage our Japanese friends to come to Hong Kong to strengthen our business ties and our friendship.”
As the maritime industry looks to the future, environmental issues are also being addressed.
“The International Maritime Organization’s 2020 global sulphur limit is of great importance,” said Chao. “While developing our industry, we need to protect the environment as we have a responsibility to the next generation. However, there are many operational issues that still have not been addressed that I am very concerned about.”
As a “super connector” located in the very heart of Asia, Hong Kong was founded on its history of trading, rule of law, financial capabilities and strong maritime industry.
“Today we see challenges and opportunities in Hong Kong and there is a determination within the business community to keep the economic momentum moving forward,” said Chao.
“Hong Kong holds a unique position in the Chinese government’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative and we expect to contribute to, and benefit from, its impact in the future.”