Nearly 40 per cent of the world ocean-going fleet is owned by Asian countries. And about 90 per cent of world trade is carried by shipping.
There is no internationally authorised statistics on the number of merchant fleet controlled by countries, mainly because of the complexity of the shipping business and the fast-paced nature of chartering activities of ships.
For construction of ships, three Asian countries—China, Japan and Korea—dominate the global shipbuilding market with their aggregate share of around 90 per cent.
Asia is also the major training ground and supplier of seafarers and supports the global maritime community’s rising need for manpower in this area. This role is important in providing hundreds of thousands of professional seafarers to the international shipping industry and to ensure that delivery of cargoes can be made efficiently.
India and the Philippines are leading countries in this area of specialisation and China is fast escalating its numbers of seafarers, according to data.
Asian shipping has done very well from the commercial point of view and it is likely that this trend will continue as the shipping companies persist in their efforts to strengthen their international competitiveness as has been done by their ancestors.
As commercial activities of the Asian shipping industry continue to expand in depth and breadth, the need for a platform to legitimately project and deliver Asian shipping’s voice as a consolidated front to the global maritime community has become critical.
In 1992, the Asian Shipowners’ Forum (ASF) was established to promote the interests of the Asian shipping industry and to express its views to the global maritime players in a more unified manner.
The ASF comprises eight member-countries and regions, including 14 shipowners’ associations of India, Australia, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea and the Federation of Asean Shipowners’ Associations which include Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
The ASF Secretariat was set up in Singapore in late 2007 and discussions will be held this month on how to propel ASF forward and its further initiatives.
The ASF annual general meeting will be held in Hong Kong next month.
With the commercial wisdom of Asia, increasing trade volume and growing importance of this region, the shipowners hope to find the right lane for ASF to navigate and fulfil its purpose, Exim News Service informs.