Fast Growing Asia Needs a Strong Unified Voice

Posted by Eric Haun
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Esben Poulsson

With Asia’s dynamic, robust and increasingly affluent economies helping to keep the international shipping industry buoyant, “the need for a unified Asian voice has never been more important”, Esben Poulsson, Honorary Secretary of the Singapore Shipping Association told delegates at the influential Connecticut Maritime Association (CMA) conference this week.

Speaking on “The Fast And Furious Pace Of Change In Asia”, Poulsson advised the packed conference hall that the projected growth for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is 5.2% this year and 5.6% in 2015, pointing out that “an essential element” of this is ASEAN’s “economic integration”.

Poulsson expressed the view that the ‘Dragon’s Head’ of Shanghai will “become ever more important over time” while Hong Kong will remain important for North Asia and Singapore’s influence “will further strengthen in South East Asia and beyond”.

“It is thus important for our association to work ever more closely with other organizations in Asia to ensure the Asian message is heard internationally,” he said. “The need for a unified Asian voice has never been more important.

“In the area of shipping regulation it is essential that the views of Asian ship owners are heard loud and clear, especially on the many current issues such as piracy and armed robbery, the Ballast Water Convention, greenhouse gas emissions and so on,” he said.

“Asian values priorities community or state interest over individual interests; social order; stability and unity over public debate; a respect for authority; hard work, self-sacrifice and loyalty. Asian workers and leaders embody these principles and with their ‘can do’ attitude, they personify the values of self-reliance and hard work.”

Pointing out that Asia, and most certainly in Singapore “strongly focuses on the need to bring young talent into the industry”, Poulsson highlighted the Singapore Shipping Association’s strong support for initiatives to attract young people with an interest in shipping into the industry – including the provision of scholarships.

Poulsson concluded, “Asia is indeed changing the face of global shipping today.”

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