subpage banner

Welcome Message from the IAME 2020 Conference Chairman

It is the pleasure and honour of the Shipping Research Centre under the Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies in the Faculty of Business of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University to organise the 28th Annual Conference of the International Association of Maritime Economists (IAME). We are deeply grateful to be the first institution to host this event a second time and to be able to welcome new participants and old friends to visit Hong Kong again after 2001, when we first met in this city.

Hong Kong, strategically located at the heart of Asia, is the gateway to south China. This freest economy in the world enjoys free trade and free flow of capital and information. The rule of law, simple and low tax regime, and communications infrastructure are keystones to our prosperity.

Hong Kong has a 150-year maritime history, a vibrant cluster of 800 maritime companies, and the maritime and port industry as one major pillar of the economy. Strong ties with the Chinese mainland, modern port and maritime facilities with comprehensive service, extensive expertise, and a multimodal transport network linking us with the rest of the world contribute to making the city an international maritime centre. We offer a full range of services from shipbroking and chartering, through ship management and surveying, to agency services, and marine equipment and support. The Hong Kong port is one of the busiest in the world with over 300 container vessel sailings to around 450 destinations worldwide every week. Hong Kong is also a ship finance centre at which seven of the world’s top ten bookrunners maintain their presence. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) figures show that Hong Kong ranked 4th in the world in terms of maritime connectivity in 2018. We were the 6th in ownership of world fleet ranked by dead-weight tonnage in the same year.

In the coming years, Hong Kong will play a significant role in building a world-class city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, offering high-value-added maritime services to overseas companies entering the Chinese mainland and helping mainland enterprises go global. It is also a gateway for them to participate in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, based on the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) is an application-oriented institution founded in 1937. The Faculty of Business is a major business school in Asia with 200 academics from around the world, 5,000 current students, and 47,000 alumni. The Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies under the Faculty of Business is the sole provider of comprehensive maritime education at the tertiary level in Hong Kong. It also conducts academic and applied research in ports, shipping, and supply chain management, as well as transport logistics. In recent years, an emphasis has been placed on intermodality covering aviation management and logistics.

PolyU is host of three major scholarly journals in maritime and shipping studies, namely International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics, Journal of Shipping and Trade, and Maritime Business Review. For shipping research, PolyU ranked first in 2016-2018 according to Thomson Reuters’ database of ISI Web of Science. With regard to maritime research, analysis shows that by the number of published papers, six of the top authors in the world are now in PolyU’s Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies. In terms of weighted score, PolyU ranks first in the most active researchers’ affiliation. In terms of impact factor, PolyU comes second. The study results are presented in an article entitled “Top 50 authors, affiliations, and countries in maritime research”, International Journal of Shipping and Transport Logistics 10(1), 87 – 111, 2018. This study examined over 5,000 papers published in 65 maritime and transportation journals between 2000 and 2015, using three criteria: the number of papers published, weighted score that reflects the contribution of each author, and impact score that considers the impact factor.

IAME Annual Conference, incepted in 1994, is a platform for sharing experience, intelligence, and research findings between all the stakeholders of the maritime industry and maritime education. It brings together scholars, researchers, practitioners, policymakers, regulators etc to devise new ways of tackling regional and global issues in the shipping and maritime area.

When the conference was first organised by PolyU in 2001, the delegates discussed the all-embracing theme of maritime economics, covering such topics as port economics and policy, shipping finance, ship registration, shipping competition and choices, shipping markets and strategy, and maritime manpower. Since then, there have been considerable changes in maritime economics and management, brought about by a number of factors, including digitalisation, electronic commerce, and environmental and social concerns.

The IAME 2020 conference carries the theme of “Sustainable Development of Shipping and Trade”, covering environmental and social issues in shipping and trade beyond the economic focus to recognise the increasingly critical importance of sustainability in balancing and improving the triple bottom line for industry development.

We look forward to welcoming you to Hong Kong, where East meets West, and to the IAME 2020 Annual Conference.


Prof. Kee-hung Lai (Mike LAI)
Director, Shipping Research Centre
Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies
Faculty of Business
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University