A recent snapshot analysis by the noted firm Menon Business Economics shows that the top five maritime capitals are, in order of ranking, Singapore, Oslo, London, Hamburg and Hong Kong.
The report states, “Countries and cities to an increasing extent compete to attract the leading firms and the most talented people. The winners in this race for attractiveness become the leading maritime countries and cities of the world.”
Twelve cities were benchmarked in four categories – shipowners and shipping operation, maritime finance, maritime law and insurance and maritime technology and competence.
Erik Jakobsen, CEO of Menon Business Economics, says Singapore came out on top because it is quite complete. Very few other cities have the industrial manufacturing side of maritime.
The perspective would be different if the research goal was to benchmark the leading maritime nations.
Norway would be ahead of Singapore if we included the rest of Norway along with Oslo. That is also to some extent true for some other countries, such as obviously China.”
However, as outlined in the report, there are clear reasons for looking at the city or the local region, primarily because firms look for specific conditions when choosing a location.
Statistics plus experts
The analysis has taken into careful and equal consideration both objective and subjective measures. “We wanted to use international statistical data that is publicly available to keep the results as neutral as possible,” he begins.
Made up of experts from every continent and from diverse areas of the business, an expert panel is the resource for the subjective indicators in the report. These 28 experts delivered results that differ to a degree from the rankings produced by the statistics, which the report balances for the final overall ranking. “The mismatch is due to perceptual differences resulting from which part of the industry or which city an expert belongs to and due to the fact that the objective indicators are only partial indicators,” says Jakobsen.
The report gives a representative picture of how the industry sees the strengths of the different cities".
While he would have preferred the participation of more experts, he is quite confident that the final results would be very similar regardless. What he does think is missing, however, are Japanese experts in the data set. “Tokyo comes quite high on the objective indicators but surprisingly low on the subjective,” he explains.
Menon Business Economics is an Oslo-based analysis and advisory firm primarily made of economists. The firm has significant experience doing research within the maritime sector for clients such as the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Det Norske Veritas, Color Line and SeaTankers. This prior deep analysis work provided invaluable competence for this benchmark report of the leading maritime capitals.