Shipping industry is one strategic service industry indispensable for the national economy. At present, Chinese shipping industry is in predicament affected by international finance crisis and subprime crisis.
It is extremely urgent to push the healthy development of shipping industry.
According to a specialist, due to the slack demand and increasing shipping capacity, most shipping enterprises have witnessed a sharp drop of freight rate and a major increase of cost caused by the soaring oil price. Under such circumstance, the enterprises have run into difficulties and some even declared a bankruptcy. “It is hard to see any favorable factor to obviously improve the shipping market in the short term. Confronted with critical new challenges, large-scale shipping enterprises are mired in operational losses and shortage of funds, while medium and small-sized shipping enterprises are on the verge of bankruptcy stricken by the devastating shock.”
There is a distinctive difference between policy environment of China’s shipping industry and that of developed countries.
Benefiting from its important role, shipping industry enjoys supportive and protective policies in shipping developed countries like America, Japan and European countries. For example, many countries and regions such as America still adopt reserved volume of traffic at different levels; Low-rate tonnage tax system(different from income tax systems under general tax system) prevails in America, Germany, UK, Japan and other developed countries; besides, there is preferential tax policy to crew’s income and fiscal subsidies are distributed to ship construction and fleet operation in accordance with provisions. “There is a significant distance between policy environment of China’s shipping industry and that of developed countries. Consequently, Chinese shipping enterprises are in an obviously unfavorable situation in the international competitions. Therefore, it is necessary to create an equal and fair competition environment for Chinese shipping industry based on advanced experiences from those shipping developed countries.”
Revitalizing China’s shipping industry allows for no delay.
The specialist suggests that the Chinese government should contrive a planning to rejuvenate Chinese shipping industry as soon as possible, and accelerate the formulation and implementation of Shipping Law.
He points out that shipping industry is an important and strategic service industry The Chinese government should formulate supportive and integrated policies in the fields of finance, taxation, supply of goods, capital input, public administration, human resource, technology and so on to confront the current difficulties and promote long-term development. In particular, the government should implement preferential tax policies to shipping companies and provide tax reliefs to the crew. The development of shipping industry deserves to be upgraded as a national strategy.
He also holds that shipping-related laws currently in effect in China are Maritime Law, Maritime Traffic Safety Law, Law of Port, and some administrative regulations and a great deal of departmental rules, providing a guarantee for the development of shipping industry. However, Shipping Law, a major law for shipping management still does not come into force. It is a hindrance in the process of building an efficient shipping management system with a standard administration. Some departments have made great efforts in the compilation of the Shipping Law. It is suggested that the enactment and implementation of Shipping Law should be accelerated to lawfully safeguard the sound development of shipping industry for a long term.