After graduating in 1983 with a degree in biology, Yiu Ming Chan was all set for a career in teaching. But after a few months working in a secondary school, a job opportunity arose in the Hong Kong office of the Pakistan National Shipping Corporation.
“It opened my eyes to this area,” Chan said. “Planning ships’ schedules, bunkering, charter hire, taking care of crew – even the telex machine with tapes – were all totally new to me.”
He worked at a number of shipping lines before becoming a partner in Modern Century Sea Freight Ltd in 1990. With the recent retirement of other partners, Chan is now the sole major shareholder of the company.
In the past, Modern Century Sea Freight focused on markets in South and Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Today, it has expanded and has footprints in Europe, the United States and Australia.
“Over the past 28 years in my company, I witnessed the golden age of Hong Kong’s shipping industry,” Chan said. However, the sector in Hong Kong now faces extremely keen competition from ports in Mainland China.
So Modern Century has branched out into other logistics areas. It established Modern Century Air Freight Ltd in 1993, which is an accredited IATA agent, and Modern Century (Shanghai) Logistics in 2007, focusing on the Mainland market.
Chan said that being flexible, proactive and energetic are essential to staying ahead.
“Tight internal networking among our various offices in Hong Kong and Mainland China within our group on one hand, and vigorous external networking with oversea agents, will keep our momentum,” he said.
Modern Century Sea Freight joined the Chamber in 2000, initially to avail of HKGCC’s trade certification services.
“The primary reason was to facilitate our applications for ‘Country of Origin’ documents on behalf of our customers,” said Chan. But they soon realized that there were many other benefits, including access to up-to-date business information.
Chan plans to continue to lead Modern Century into new markets.
“To take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative is also our long-term strategy,” he said. “In fact, we have started to move considerable freight to countries within the Belt and Road which we had never considered before.”
Company: Modern Century Sea Freight Ltd
HKGCC Membership No.: HKM0432
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