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Home > Embassy News > 2013
Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xiaoming At the Celebration of the Maiden Voyage Of COSCO England
(Port of Felixstowe, 8 October 2013)

Lady Mayor,

Chief Executive Yang Shicheng,

Mr. Clemence Cheng,

Captain Wang Haiqing,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I warmly welcome COSCO England to Britain on her maiden voyage.

We can take pride that COSCO England was built in China and is operated by China Ocean Shipping Company, also known as COSCO.

COSCO England reminds me of another much older ship.

In April last year, I had the honour of being invited by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to accompany her on the reopening of a ship. That was Cutty Sark. She now rests in the National Maritime Museum by the River Thames.

We can make an interesting comparison about the two ships.

Cutty Sark was built in 1869 in Scotland. She was 64.7 meters long with a deadweight of 921 tons.

At that time and throughout the world navigation history, she was the fastest ‘clipper’ sailing ship with a speed of over 17 knots per hour.

From 1870 to 1878, she was traveling between China and Britain. The Cutty Sark was carrying the most important commodity in bilateral trade of that time. This was Chinese tea. Such was the strength of demand in Britain at that time the Cutty Sark took part in the legendary ‘tea clipper’ races.

Turning now to the story of COSCO England. This huge ship was completed in China this year by the company Nantong COSCO KHI Ship Engineering.

COSCO England is 366 meters long and sails at over 24 knots per hour. Her total load reaches 13,386 standard containers. She is the largest container ship in China and one of the most advanced in the world. COSCO England has been designed to shuttle between major ports in China and the port of Felixstowe in Britain.

COSCO England has a new mission in China-Britain trade.

Of course COSCO England will still bring Chinese tea to the UK! But, COSCO England will bring much more. There will be a multitude of items such as household consumer goods, mechanical and electronic appliances.

In turn, COSCO England will carry to China not only wine, beer and whisky, but also vast quantities of aviation equipment, cars, machinery and medical instruments.

COSCO England will become a symbol of China-Britain trade links in the twenty first century.

The stories of the COSCO England and the Cutty Sark can tell us much about how our world has changed during the past 140 years.

The stories of these two ships also allow us to reflect on a century and a half of China-UK relations, which have stood the test of times and grown from strength to strength. As a result, China-Britain cooperation has become more extensive and substantial. More importantly, this cooperation is now based on equal-footing and mutually beneficial.

Looking into the future, I even feel more confident about China-UK cooperation. In the coming five years, China’s imports will rise to total 10 trillion US dollars. The British economy is also recovering. I believe that driven by these encouraging developments, COSCO England will be busy and full during all her passages between our two countries.

As business and exchange grows I also hope that COSCO, China’s top shipping company, will put more super size container ships onto the China-Britain route and make greater contribution to China-UK cooperation.

In conclusion, I wish COSCO England safe and plain sailing.

I wish COSCO a thriving business.

I wish the port of Felixstowe a greater contribution to China-UK trade.

I wish China-UK business ties robust growth.

Thank you!

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