Marina Container Lines - Exploring opportunities in Myanmar and beyond
Marina Container Lines (HK) Ltd (MCL) was founded in the early 1990s to seize opportunities in the booming logistics industry. The firm began as a shipping agent and gradually expanded into freight forwarding, also known as non-vessel operating common carrier (NVOCC). In recent years, the company has also been active in developing new markets; after joining the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s business mission to Myanmar in 2013, the company started focusing on developing businesses there the following year, introducing innovative logistics services and trade support solutions.
Eric Wong, MCL’s CEO and Director, said in the 1990s, as Hong Kong developed into an international logistics hub with one of the world’s busiest container ports, many companies from around the world arranged their sea freight shipments through Hong Kong-based freight forwarders in order to gain access to a wider selection of sea ports and freight vessels. Leveraging Hong Kong’s geographical advantage, MCL began offering a comprehensive range of services including cargo booking, contract drafting, scheduling and custom clearance to meet the booming demand for maritime services.
At the time, the company also provided feeder and freight forwarding services for re-exporting goods from the Pearl River Delta to overseas markets while continuing to develop its NOVCC services, taking full advantage of Hong Kong’s position as a regional logistics hub and gateway to the Chinese mainland.
Mr Wong said in the mid-1990s, as many liner shipping companies began setting up their own agencies in major ports around China, MCL still managed to secure a strong customer base because of its one-stop shipping and freight forwarding services.
In 2013, MCL joined an HKTDC mission to Myanmar and realised that apart from logistics services, the country also has great demand for trade support services. The company opened its Myanmar office in August 2014. “The trade missions organised by the HKTDC allow Hong Kong businesses to connect with the management of local companies,” said Mr Wong. “The research and market intelligence provided by the HKTDC are also extremely helpful.”
Almost three decades of experience in capitalising on Hong Kong’s unique advantages has helped MCL expand into the Myanmar market and facilitate the flow of goods between China and Myanmar. Developing its business in the country is now a main focus for the company. Besides providing transportation and delivery services for local businesses, MCL is also helping mainland companies export products to Myanmar. Tapping into the growing e-commerce market, the company is setting up “experience halls” for Myanmar customers to learn more about Chinese products, hoping to create a seamless online-to-offline experience.