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Engagement of China’s banks with shipping industry discussed at key conference

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H.E. Liu Xaioming, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland delivering his welcome speech

Last Tueday 15th May 2012, the finance and shipping industry came together for the China Money & Ships conference held at Haberdashers’ Hall, one of the City’s landmarks in West Smithfield, London.

H.E. Liu Xaioming, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland delivered the welcoming address and began by saying “Trade and shipping are an integral part of creating prosperity and healthy economies. This means the topic of China Money and Ships 2012 has great significance.” His Excellency then went on to say, “With the support of the financial sector, China’s shipbuilding industry has grown at an impressive speed. Its share in global markets is rising notably. I want to stress here that Chinese banks have adequate funds to provide financing support for foreign ship owners who want to build ships in China.”

TheCityUK’s Chief Executive, Chris Cummings who also gave an address in the morning said he was “delighted that this first conference on ‘China Money and Ships’ is being held in London. It is an excellent forum to enable discussions to take place on how Chinese and British companies can work together to identify key issues surrounding the financing of not only China’s but the global shipbuilding industry.”

The morning sessions focused on the Chinese banks’ current engagement with the maritime sector, linked to China’s overall maritime strategy with the following speakers and panellists:

Sean Wang, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd
Han Guang, Deputy Head, Information Research Centre, China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC)
Tom Boardley, Marine Director, Lloyd’s Register
Nigel Bell, Managing Director, Bell Shipping Ltd
Haralambos Fafalios, Chairman, Greek Shipping Co-operation Committee
Madeline Leong, Partner, Asset Finance, Watson, Farley & Williams LLP
Mark Long, Global Head of Transport, Shipping, Services and Offshore, HSBC Bank Plc
Su Min, Chief Financial Officer, China Shipping Group, and
Ben Zhang, Managing Director, Accord Marine Services Ltd

The morning panel

Jeremy Penn, Chief Executive of The Baltic Exchange opened the afternoon with a presentation on the opportunities for co-operation between China and London, focusing particularly on Freight Derivatives, an excellent presentation offering a lot for the advantages of The Baltic, the temple of international shipping! The afternoon panel chaired by Paul Chang, Managing Director, Global Head of Shipping at ICBC Leasing provided a lively debate looking at what the Chinese lender requires to evaluate a ship-financing project and how the centre of gravity for shipping finance in 2012 has moved.

After launch, on an l to r basis: Ravi K. Mehrotra, Haralambos J. Fafalios and Jeremy Penn

The panel consisted of: Chen Hezhi, President, Shanghai Shipping Industry Fund Management Ltd
Gao Zefeng, Director , Shipping Finance Division II, Transport-Finance Department, The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM)
Alastair MacAulay, Partner, Mayer Brown
Ravi K. Mehrotra CBE, Executive Chairman, Foresight Limited
Gary Wong, Partner, Ince & Co
and Captain George Xiradakis, Managing Director, XRTC Business Consultants Ltd

It was one of the best debates in living memory with over sixteen questions, and can assure you that Ravi Mehrotra’s and captain George Xyradakis’ to and fro well backed arguments will be for ever remembered. Wish the organisers give the live tape for the world to listen, judge and decide.

The aftrenoon panel

Following the conference, Chris Hayman, Seatrade’s Chairman said “We may now be seeing a turning point in the engagement of China’s banks with the global shipping industry. The China Money & Ships conference brought the debate on the future involvement of Chinese financial institutions in ship finance to London, with strong participation from China. The opportunities for co-operation with European banks were also explored.”

I am* sure that the aftermath of this debate will be the focus on the relevant coming Posidonia conference and debates next month; watch this space!

For further details on the China Money and Ships conference visit www.chinamoneyandships.com.

The China Money & Ships conference was sponsored by ABS, Bell Shipping Ltd, China Classification Society, China Rongsheng Heavy Industries Group Holdings Ltd, Cruiser Capital, ICBC Leasing, Ince & Co and Mayer Brown. The conference was supported by Maritime London and TheCityUK.

Going back to Barbican Station under one of the worse showers, I recalled the famous saying “some people feel the rain, others just get wet”; try to interpret this with the worse wold economic crisis including the shipping financial crisis, what is to come and how China will tackle this issues.
* John Faraclas was there for the afternoon session as due to his back pain missed the morning session

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