Eric highlighted the registry's low cost and high quality of service, as well as its recent expansion into the Middle East and other global markets.
Seatrade Maritime: What is the difference between HKSR and other registries?
Eric W.C.LEE: HK shipping registry is the 4th largest registry in the world.
Our key of success is to provide the high quality service with low cost. Hong Kong Shipping Registry is fully administered by the Hong Kong Marine Department which is the government body.
We are not aiming to make any profits from the registration fees and most of the service provided is given on a cost-recovery basis.
That’s why we can provide a low-cost service with high quality.
SM: Does the Registry have any new initiatives it can share?
Eric: We are in the Middle East. In the past decades, Hong Kong Shipping Registry have only headquarters in Hong Kong. That’s why our target group of customers or shipowners are mainly based in China and in the Asia Pacific.
Since 2020, we have established our regional desks worldwide. So we are also eyeing on the markets or the shipowners worldwide. We want to try to diversify our portfolio,
SM: How does Hong Kong maintain the quality of ships on its Registry?
Eric: Since 1999, we have established a system called the Flag State Quality Control mechanism, where we will review, the fleet performance regularly, and we will select some of the ships with high risk, and we will conduct the Flag State Inspection by ourselves. In 2020, since we established the regional desks worldwide as I have mentioned, we have also extended our scope of flag state quality control service to a more worldwide basis, all the regional desks we have our appointed surveyors there, we will select more ships, about 10% of our (total) ships, for having the flag state audit by our selves ar by our surveyors. That’s how we maintain a high quality fleet and it turn up it works because we are always at the leading position in terms of ship quality.
SM: Are companies with ships on the Hong Kong Register required to have a presence in Hong Kong?
Eric: In fact, every flag State should have a genuine linkage with the shipowners that you can place a direct communication and control against the ship under the flag. Under the Hong Kong Law, we have the requirements that every Hong Kong-registered ship should be owned by what we so call a qualified person. A qualified person should be either a registered Hong Kong Company based in Hong Kong or have a presence in Hong Kong. But there are also other options, to have a registered non-Hong Kong company, which means you also need to be registered under Hong Kong Company Registry, but you are not necessary to have a presence in Hong Kong at all.
SM: How does the Registry support ship owners internationally?
Eric: Since 2020, we have established our regional desks worldwide in 7 places. One in Singapore, one in Shanghai, one in Tokyo, one in Australia, one in London, one in Canada, and the last one in the US. Because they are set in different time zones. That’s how we can provide more direct support because ships are always operating on a 24/7 basis and also worldwide trading.