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Monday 24 June


Guangzhou is a leading trading port and a major economic power house in South China and ranks 5th largest port in the world in terms of a tonnage throughput of 590 million tons.

This includes Oil (crude and products), 23.7 million tons, with a 9% yearly growth. Guangzhou Port is also gaining significance in both LPG and LNG import capability, a growing business area with great potential. Throughput of Steel is rated at 32.1 million tons, Grain, 26.0 million tons, Coal, 77.2 million tons with all sectors experiencing significant yearly growth. In terms of transhipment, Guangzhou Port effectively serves all the major cities in the Pearl River Delta region as well as Guangxi Province and Hainan province. 

On Thursday 20 September at a presentation for the Guangzhou Port held at the Armourers Hall the President of the LMAA made a keynote address and gave an interview regarding the LMAA’s active engagement with China which included the following points.

1. What business activities do you have that are related to China? 

Internationally, the LMAA is the leading body concerned with maritime dispute resolution and its arbitrators handle a very high percentage of disputes  from maritime contracts between Chinese and foreign parties. We hope in future to maintain and enhance this position by continuing contact and dialogue with relevant Chinese authorities and companies in the maritime sector. We also have personal and organisational contacts with the Maritime Section of the All China Lawyers Association and its members including in Guangzhou leading law firms such as Wang Jing and Rolmax.

We also engage in cooperation with Chinese arbitral institutions such as the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission, CIETAC and CMAC to exchange experience. Earlier this year I spoke at a conference in the Nansha Free Trade Zone explaining why the LMAA enjoyed such a prominent position in international maritime arbitration and indicating some of the opportunities for the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission and the Nansha International Arbitration commission to establish their position in an international context. Last weekend I and other members of the LMAA took part in a mock arbitration before an audience of some 250 lawyers and experts to explain the procedure adopted in a London arbitration hearing and to give some hints to Chinese parties as to how to conduct their cases in London in future based on our extensive experience of handling disputes involving Chinese parties in the maritime sector.

2. Do you have any suggestions for Guangzhou Port for further development? 

In the legal field the Guangzhou Port Authority will wish to build up not only the hardware of a modern port but also focus on developing the cluster of service businesses which serve the maritime businesses which use the port or are based in the Great Bay Area.

3. How can UK players make best use of the business opportunities offered by the expansion of Guangzhou?

The scope for UK businesses in the marine insurance, shipbroking and surveying sectors to provide services in the Great Bay Area are considerable. As relations between the UK (and London in particular) an China and and the Guangzhou port authority in particular continue to develop and flourish it will be important on the Chinese side to afford open access to these businesses to participate in the activities needed to build up an effective maritime cluster in the area.Just as the US seems to be intent on erecting trade barriers, with China, we and the Chinese side need to be demolishing the barriers to the free provision of services to ensure a mutually prosperous future.

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