China’s One Belt One Road policy will have major impact on liner shipping, says SS Teo

China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) policy will have a major impact on liner shipping says Pacific International Lines (PIL) boss SS Teo.

“One Belt One Road will be an issue not be an issue for a few years, but for decades,” Teo aid at a seminar to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Singapore Shipping Association’s (SSA) Young Executives Group.

This is due to a change in the foreign direct investment (FDI) related to OBOR and the changes in China’s economy which saw China’s FDI outflow exceed the country’s inflow for the first time last year.

The PIL Managing Director said, “The factory of the world will still be a major manufacturing centre, but there will be new manufacturing centres springing up around the world.”

Running a major, but niche trade focused container line, Teo and PIL have had long standing involvement of development of trade with China and many of the developing African nations that OBOR is targeting, such as Tanzania for which he is the Honoury Consul in Singapore.

As a result of OBOR and the outflow of capital to emerging economies this would hopefully lead to higher standards of living and therefore higher consumer demand which is good for container shipping.

“I think we will see different hubs coming up. The whole liner shipping industry will see changes,” he said.

While Teo highlighted the changes that the OBOR policy could bring there were questions as to how much was really happened to date. Teo said that OBOR was not “rhetoric” from China, it was how much other countries wanted to embrace the policy.

Fellow panelist Professor Wang Gungwu, chairman of the East Asia Institute at the National University of Singapore, said that China was waiting to know from countries on the OBOR what they wanted. “Initiatives need to come from countries along the road,” he said.

SK Lim md for transport logistics for IMC Shipping, said they were monitoring OBOR very closely and starting to see enquiries coming up. While it had been slow to start in the case of IMC was noting interest from China to invest in Indonesian projects for example.

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