Emission Free Shipping Association in China, expanding our international horizon

In our effort to establish an international network, our first step outside Europe is going to China! Is China a logic first step for forming this international network? Yes, we believe it is. In our opinion the focus for reducing emissions from ships should be focussed within 3 areas: Europe, USA and China. Europe is our home, so this is where we started. Now we have to move on to our next target. On the world stage of climate change adaption measures, China has changed into a proactive country on the issue of combating climate change. This made the choice easy to fly to China first. Being the biggest economy of Asia and one of the biggest maritime industry in the world, the move to greenhouse gas free shipping cannot be fixed without the cooperation of China.

This is easier said than done. So how do we introduce ourselves into China’s world of companies and governmental officials. Sometimes you need a little bit of luck. Through a friend of ours, we got in contact with a Dutch Chinees lady called Hongjuen Chen. Also knows as Nancy Chen. We found out that she has a sound reputation in China and that her professional legal and climate policy network stretches all the way to the shipping industry and senior governmental officials. She is willing to help us and she supports the standpoint of EFSA. We temporarily appointed her as our Asia representative for the China tour and booked our tickets.

In the weeks before our trip, Nancy contacted many companies and set up a schedule for us to meet them. We learned that doing business in China means knowing what Guanxi 关系 (networking) is. Being introduced in a network via a mutual contact opens doors and gives us a chance to tell our story. It also involves installing WeChat on our telephones. Everything is done via WeChat. In China being invited to a WeChat group means that they are open for interaction and are willing to help us.

So on Monday the 4th of March, the 3 of us boarded a flight to Beijing. After a 9.5 hour flight we went straight to business. We had a tight schedule with 3 meetings per day including lunch and dinner meetings. No time to waste and we met numerous people. We learned that China is willing to make proactive steps toward reducing emissions of shipping. We learned that in China, as in many countries, shipping is not the first concern if it comes to greenhouse gas reduction, but that it is an open field that needs to be established. We feel that we stepped into a white spot and that companies, NGO’s and governmental officials are willing to cooperate and support the work of EFSA.

With two more days to go in the Yangtze Delta region, we feel that China is ready to embrace organisations such as EFSA and that we made the right step to come here. Today we met with officials of Jiangyin Port and CSSC shipyard.

Tuesday we will fly back and focus on our strategy to get involvement from China. We look forward to coming back soon to continue our work in our newly established network.

Next stop will be USA!

David Anink
Emission Free Shipping Association

Boerhaavelaan 40
2713 HX Zoetermeer
The Netherlands
Tel: +31 79 747 02 38