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Changing of the guard at the world’s largest shipping company

There’s a changing of the guard at the world’s largest shipping company. As he hits the mandated retirement age of 65 for leaders of Chinese state-run entities, Xu Lirong is stepping down as chairman and party secretary at Cosco Shipping after six years in charge.

He will be replaced by Wan Min, who had served as Xu’s deputy before transferring to lead China Travel Service four years ago. Wan’s background in a more than 25-year career with Cosco has predominantly been on the vast conglomerate’s liner business.

During Xu’s tenure, Cosco merged with China Shipping and then paid $6.3bn to take over Hong Kong’s Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL). The group’s shipyards came through the downturn and are now established as among China’s most reliable shipbuilders while on the ports side, Cosco has become the world’s third largest terminal operator.

Xu leaves Cosco at a time where it is on track to post its greatest financial results in its 60-year history.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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