IN THE early 1870s China Navigation Company operated a small fleet of paddle steamers on the Yangtze River, similar to those that plied the Mississippi in the US.
Today the company is a major player in global shipping, with 130 ships across its three divisions (Swire Shipping, Swire Bulk and Swire Bulk Logistics).
The company this week opened its China headquarters in Shanghai, marking a return to the place where it was founded in 1872.
CNCo managing director James Woodrow said they already enjoyed strong partnerships with key Chinese shipbuilders.
“Shipping markets have come to depend heavily on China and we believe the shipping industry will continue to be greatly influenced by China,” Mr Woodrow said.
“While China generates demand, it also creates supply. China’s growth as a major player in the shipbuilding industry has truly been remarkable.
“The partnerships we have established with key Chinese shipbuilders is testimony of this growth.”
Mr Woodrow said they had built 37 vessels in China and had eight feeder container vessels to be built at the China State Shipbuilding Corporation’s Wenchong shipyard for delivery in 2019/20.
“We will continue to assess modern and fuel-efficient designs to provide an industry-leading product to our customers in China far into the future,” Mr Woodrow said.
The opening ceremony was officiated by Barnaby Swire, outgoing chairman of CNCo, incoming chairman Sam Swire, as well as James Woodrow and other board members.
Country manager Randy Selvaratnam said with the Shanghai office together with other offices in Qingdao, Beijing and Guangzhou, they were confident of delivering customers’ shipping solutions.
“Currently, we offer four separate services from China covering the South Pacific Islands, New Zealand, and North Australia trades,” Mr Selvaratnam said.
The Shanghai office is located in the HKRI Taikoo Hui building, within Jing’an District, a key commercial and financial sector of Shanghai.