Navigating the waters of success

“Hong Kong’s modern-day economic strengths are founded on our harbor,” says Sabrina Chao, Executive Chairman of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings Limited.

Regarding Hong Kong (in Cantonese; ‘Fragrant harbor’), it is impossible to overstate the importance that location has played in the special administrative region’s growth; not only as a shipping hub but as an international place of business.

Wah Kwong, founded in 1952, has capitalized on Hong Kong’s strategic location, ‘business-friendly’ market and strong maritime sector.

As an asset based ship owner, Wah Kwang derives income from chartering vessels to customers focusing on the transportation of raw materials and minerals.

“In our industry, we have to take a global view in order to be successful,” says Chao. “Rather than the ‘blue-collar’ industry people sometimes associate with shipping, success in the shipping sector requires commitment, expertise and technical know-how. Due to the fact that our industry is not outwardly visible, many people underestimate the value of the maritime industry. Our ships travel the seven seas and today, we are the definition of globalization”.

“As a company, our roots and our heritage are founded in Hong Kong,” continues Chao, who has been at the helm of the company for over five years. “While conditions in the industry have not been favorable in recent years; we are cautiously optimistic about the future.”

As Hong Kong continues to strengthen its role as the dominate shipping and logistics hub in the region, Singapore is also building on its success within the global maritime industry. Hong Kong’s proximity to mainland China enables Hong Kong to act as a ‘gateway’ to the mainland while Singapore’s location in the heart of Southeast Asia helps the country attract talent and reach out to neighboring economies.

“Competition in the shipping industry can be a good thing”, says Chao. “It can be argued that the Hong Kong – Singapore comparison is similar to that of London verses Oslo, both of which have successful and historic maritime industries. As a company, our advantage is that we are a family-run business and we intend to continue doing what we are good at. We have been in business for over sixty years and we will carry on taking a long-term approach to working with our international customers and partners as we look towards the future.”

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