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North Bund Forum set for smooth sailing in Shanghai


The 2023 North Bund Forum on international shipping and aviation will take place in Shanghai from September 22 to 24, bringing together industry leaders, experts and policymakers from around the world to discuss and promote sustainable and high-quality development of the shipping industry.

Jointly organized by the Ministry of Transport and the Shanghai government, the forum aims to enhance international exchanges and cooperation, reinforce the role of shipping as a global trade and cultural bridge, and explore innovative approaches to address the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

Under the theme of "Openness, Cooperation, and Innovation: Co-building a New Landscape of Global Shipping and Aviation," this year's forum will feature a diverse range of activities and discussions that encompass various aspects of the shipping industry.

The main agenda of the North Bund Forum includes an opening ceremony and main forum, two parallel forums, and six thematic forums.

The opening ceremony and main forum will host distinguished guests, including domestic and foreign ministerial-level officials, heads of international organizations and renowned economists, who will deliver speeches highlighting the importance of collaboration and innovation in driving the industry forward.

The two parallel forums, respectively on shipping and aviation, will provide a platform for experts and representatives from the industry and its value chain to exchange ideas, share insights and build consensus on key issues.

Additionally, the forum will feature six thematic forums focused on critical areas, namely, safety and cooperation, rescue and salvage, digitalization and intelligentization, decarbonizing shipping and ports, judiciary and arbitration, and finance and insurance. These forums will delve deeper into specific topics, allowing participants to explore innovative solutions and best practices.

One of the highlights of the forum will be the release of important achievements in the shipping field. The organizing committee office has collected significant accomplishments from the shipping and aviation industry in Shanghai since the previous forum, and over 10 new achievements related to innovation and open cooperation will be announced during the opening ceremony.

A total of more than 20 new achievements and over 10 case studies will be unveiled during the three-day forum, showcasing the progress made by various stakeholders in advancing the industry over the past year.

The significance of the shipping industry in China's economic and social development cannot be overstated. According to Gao Haiyun of the Water Transport Bureau of the Ministry of Transport, the national waterway cargo volume and cargo turnover account for 16.9 percent and 53.5 percent, respectively, in the comprehensive transportation system.

Meanwhile, Chinese ports have consistently ranked at the top in terms of cargo throughput and container throughput for consecutive years, solidifying the country's position as a global shipping leader. Among the top 10 ports in the world in terms of total port throughput and container throughput, China holds eight and seven positions, respectively.

Wang Weiren, deputy secretary-general of the Shanghai government, highlighted the accomplishments of the "14th Five-Year Plan" in the construction of the Shanghai International Shipping Center.

For example, Shanghai Port, which has remained the world's busiest container port for 13 straight years, recorded a container throughput exceeding 47.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2022. From January to August this year, the port completed a container throughput of 32.14 million TEUs , a year-on-year increase of 3.6 percent.

The city has also made significant progress in expanding its aviation infrastructure, with projects such as the fourth-phase expansion of Pudong international airport and the construction of a large-scale integrated transportation hub in the Pudong New Area.