It was officially announced today that Arthur Bowring, managing director of the Hong Kong Shipowners Association (HKSOA), is to step down at the end of the month, although he will continue in a consultancy role at the influential shipowning body.
The news was greeted with tributes flooding into the Splash newsroom from across world shipping.
Tributes to Bowring, the great champion of the local shipping scene, also make the cover story of Splash’s Hong Kong magazine, which launches today with the HKSOA executive on the cover. Bowring has headed the association since 1997.
Bowring’s current chairman, Sabrina Chao, who also heads up Wah Kwong, one of the founding members of the HKSOA, told Splash: “Arthur has put Hong Kong firmly on the international platform. Our active involvement and contribution in the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and various industry bodies are very much driven by Arthur’s passion for the industry and of course his wealth of knowledge. Arthur is very well respected and he has solidified HKSOA’s position in the global shipping industry as the voice of Asia.”
Anglo-Eastern Univan’s chairman Peter Cremers, a previous HKSOA chair, concurred, saying: “Arthur has definitely almost single handedly put the HKSOA on the world map as the Asian voice in shipping, not afraid of making its opinions clear.”
ICS chairman Esben Poulsson acknowledged Bowring’s contribution to world shipping especially his handling of seafarer-related legislation.
“The ICS,” Poulsson said, “has benefited over many years from Arthur’s extensive knowledge and expertise with regard to most of the major issues facing our industry but it is his tremendous contribution on the industry’s behalf at the ILO and in particular the drafting of the Maritime Labour Convention that really stands out and for which the we will always be extremely grateful.”
Bowring’s counterpart in Copenhagen, Anne Steffensen, a former ambassador and now director general of the Danish Shipowners’ Association praised Bowring’s “constructive and contributing” nature.
“For me Arthur is the face and voice of Hong Kong shipping,” Steffensen said. “He has a strong international profile and is influential in ICS and elsewhere in the global shipping community.”
Hong Kong’s two largest shipowners also saluted the departing Bowring today.
Andy Tung, CEO of containerline OOCL, told Splash: “Arthur’s enthusiasm, drive and dedication has been a great asset to the association.”
Mats Berglund, CEO at bulker firm Pacific Basin, commented: “Arthur has represented well the interests of Hong Kong shipowners and managers, lobbying international regulatory bodies to ensure shipping is treated fairly and new maritime legislation is sensible and practical.”
A host of former HKSOA chairmen also eagerly told Splash of Bowring’s important influence, which readers can access via reading the just published Hong Kong special. Readers will be able to understand how Bowring in effect helped create much of today’s key shipping legislation including the Common Structural Rules, the Maritime Labour Convention and even the IMO’s recent sulphur ruling.
Angus Frew, secretary general of global shipbuilding association, Bimco, described Bowring as “the acknowledged voice of shipping in Hong Kong”.
“His opinion is highly respected throughout the international shipping community,” Frew told Splash, adding: “He is going to be an extremely hard act to follow, and we will miss his valuable input on international shipping issues.”
The woman tasked with that “hard act” is Sandy Chan, the former CEO of the Hong Kong Estate Agents Authority, who will take over from Bowring on December 1. Martin Creswell, a veteran at China Navigation, will also be joining the HKSOA as technical director.
To access the full Splash Hong Kong magazine for free click here.