(EnergyAsia, December 28 2012, Friday) — Shipping executives predict their industry will benefit from China’s long-term shift to becoming a domestic consumer-driven economy.

As the world’s second largest economy continues to grow at more than seven percent a year, the shipping industry will likely see further growth in new vessel deliveries in 2013, said Xu Lirong, President of China Shipping (Group) Company.

At this rate of growth, about half of China’s 1.4 billion population will join the ranks of the middle class by 2020. China’s annual per capita income is projected to range between US$7,000 and US$23,000, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

The country’s manufacturing sector will continue to perform well, leading to demand for container ships despite an on-going capacity glut.

“Oversupply of capacity is still an obstacle for the shipping industry to overcome, but with the improvement of the world economy, the shipping sector is expected to experience moderate growth,” said Mr Xu.

He will examine this key issue affecting China, and the nation’s pivotal position in the international maritime arena at next April’s Sea Asia, the region’s leading maritime event, in Singapore.

The event’s co-organisers, Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF), have also invited Andy Tung, CEO of Hong Kong’s Orient Overseas Container Line, and Chen Bin, deputy general manager (Transport Finance Department) at the China EximBank to discuss the future of China’s maritime sector.

Conference speakers will address topics pertaining to dry and liquid bulk cargoes, ship financing, and the role of Chinese banks and their overall outlook and attitudes to industry lending. The offshore and marine sector will also be examined as China is building up its offshore exploration and production capacity.