Huangpu District aims to gather more of the world’s leading shipping and logistics companies due to the China International Import Expo and the Belt & Road initiative.

The downtown district has made shipping a key industry in its development blueprint for 2020 through 2025, Yang Dongsheng, Huangpu’s Deputy Director, told at a forum on the opportunities both offered the global shipping industry.

Officials from around 50 the world’s top shipping companies, consultants and research institutes attended the forum at the PwC Innovation Center.

Huangpu aims to revive its historical status as the shipping centre of the Far East, Yang said. Shiliupu Wharf on the Bund was once China’s largest shipping port, through which a large number of products were unloaded from cargo ships from across the world.

In the early 19th century, a group of foreign firms engaged in marine insurance businesses gathered on the Bund, such as Russell & Co., the Yangtze Insurance Association and Jardine Matheson.

American Asiatic Underwriters, the predecessor of American International Group (AIG), as well as the American International Assurance (AIA) also started businesses on the Bund.

Of 31 of the world’s top 50 shipping companies, almost half have been based in Huangpu or have set up agencies, Yang said. He promised preferential policies to companies in the shipping sector based in the district.

Huangpu has released a bundle of 50 policies to further open up and attract more foreign businesses to the downtown region, especially to the Bund, the city’s century-old financial hub

Huangpu also endeavours to attract more shipping enterprises when the import expo is held at the National Exhibition and Convention Center from November 5 to 10, according to the district government.

During the first expo last year, nearly 7,000 buyers from 1,101 companies & organisations in Huangpu reached an intended transaction amount of US$230 million, Yang said.