London might be losing its status as the major maritime arbitration centre in the future as Asian cities, include Singapore and Hong Kong, are catching up speakers told delegates at the BIMCO event in Shanghai today.
David Roberts, managing director of The Standard Club Asia, believes there is a gradual shift of arbitration happening in the maritime industry.
“China and Japan is the second and third largest shipowning country in the world, controlling around 50% of the world’s fleet, it would be peculiar that there isn’t an major arbitration centre in Asia,” Roberts said.
Although data shows London is still the leading maritime arbitration centre, Roberts has seen Singapore quickly grow in the area, while Hong Kong is also growing albeit at a slower pace.
Ian Gaunt, president of London Maritime Arbitration Association, is of the view that Hong Kong will compete very strongly as a maritime arbitration centre while China still has a long way to go.
“For China, the main barrier for it to become an international arbitration centre is that ad hoc arbitration, which is favored by the maritime industry, is not available under Chinese arbitration law,” Gaunt said.
Hong Kong veteran arbitrator Phillip Yang also believes Hong Kong will find it hard to compete in the next five to ten years and he has seen relative expertise growing in Singapore as the government has been making efforts to attract talent in the sector.
All speakers agreed that Brexit would not have great impact on London’s status as a maritime arbitration centre.