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OSLO: In a new review of 15 leading maritime cities, Singapore has retained its No.1 position followed by Hamburg, Oslo, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Norwegian consulting company Menon canvassed a group of experts for their views based on five criteria: shipping centers, maritime finance and law, ports and logistics services, maritime technology and attractiveness and competitiveness.

Noting its "business friendly policies" and strategic location, the Menon report acknowledges Singapore "has gained a position in the global economy few would have predicted 40 years ago".

While Oslo is strong in maritime finance and technology, it takes third place overall behind Hamburg because of the latter's importance as a European port city. Meanwhile, China's position as the world's largest trading nation is confirmed by Shanghai joining Hong Kong to make up the Menon list of top five cities.

Top Maritime portsAlthough London is acknowledged as the world's leading city for maritime finance and law, and Rotterdam's strength lies in port and logistics services, the race to become Europe's leading port remains open says the consultancy.

Looking out to 2020, Menon thinks Singapore will keep its position as the world's No.1 while Shanghai is expected to move up to second place. However its group of experts had difficulty in forecasting a clear third place as they ranked Rotterdam, Oslo, Hamburg, Hong Kong and Dubai almost equally.

However, the city they believe will increase its importance the most in the next five years is Dubai because of strong political support and its fast-growing position as a preferred trading center for the region.

On June 03, the Dubai Maritime City Authority (DMCA) announced it was launching an advisory council to encourage collaboration between private and public industry stakeholders.

"This initiative will nurture closer collaboration and mutual understanding between all the key maritime industry stakeholders in Dubai," said DMCA executive director Amer Ali. "By engaging with businesses on this level Dubai can achieve buy-in from industry to support its ambitious, strategic maritime objectives, while we also build our own understanding of exactly what our private partners want from a global shipping hub."

DMCA says Dubai is "proving a major pull for international maritime firms" and the port sector now contributes 4.6 percent (AED 14.4 billion) to the emirate's GDP.

The new advisory council includes DP World, Clarksons, Tufton Oceanic, United Arab Shipping Company, Maersk, Emirates National Oil Company, National Association of Freight and Logistics, UAE National Ship Suppliers Association, Wilhelmsen Ships Service, DHL Express and Aramex.

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