The Tanker Shipping & Trade conference is the ideal forum to discuss all issues tanker-related; this year’s conference will be held online, from 16-18 November
The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has placed severe restrictions on gala events like the Tanker Shipping & Trade conference. The UK is currently under social distancing restrictions, with no more than six people allowed to assemble in one spot.
Fortunately, almost as soon as Covid-19 made its presence known, Riviera Maritime Media rapidly moved towards producing webinars. The organisation has gained a vast amount of experience in this field, producing an average of one webinar per day over recent months. We are now using that knowledge to producing virtual conferences, at the heart of which will be safe, Covid-free networking.
Another change to this year’s event is its extension to three days. This will give attendees sufficient breaks, allowing delegates and speakers to attend to other business from their desks, be it at home or in the office.
The 2020 agenda will follow a similar format to that of 2019 and will be finalised closer to the event itself, with details available at www.rivieramm.com/events/tanker-shipping-and-trade-conference. Please note, the conference will start at 13.00 GMT.
The first day of the Tanker Shipping & Trade conference will be given over to a broader view of the tanker industry, with sessions on geopolitical stresses on the tanker market, the impact of storage and forecasts for the different tanker sectors.
By the time of the conference, one of the big unknowns will have been clarified: the outcome of the US election. President Trump and Vice-President Biden have very different views on the future of the oil industry. President Trump fast-tracked the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline and gave approval to advance the Keystone XL pipeline. He also boosted domestic fracking and reduced environmental legislation, including fuel consumption targets.
His overseas policy has included the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change and the application of strong measures against Iran, Venezuela and China. If Trump wins another term, further roll-backs on oil and gas legislation are likely and the tough stance on Iran, Venezuela and China will continue.
Vice-President Biden is known to prefer less fracking, an increase in oil industry oversight and a reversion to stronger environmental legislation. Permission for the Keystone XL pipeline would likely be withdrawn under his presidency and a rise in corporate taxes may also be on the agenda.
On foreign policy, Vice-President Biden has indicated that the US would sign the Paris Agreement and re-engage on Iran, Venezuela and China. Overall, a President Trump re-election would maintain the current soft conditions for the oil and gas industry, while a Biden victory would see greater emphasis on climate change, renewable energy and reduced dependency on oil and gas, ultimately leading to a reduction in tanker tonne-mile demand.
A discussion on the impact of the outcome of the US election will be a highlight of the first day of the conference.
Day two starts earlier at 9.00 GMT, with a focus on decarbonisation and the implication of EU moves to introduce an emission trading system that encompasses shipping, which seems at odds with IMO’s approach. This will be followed by a presentation on alternative fuels and other approaches to decarbonisation.
Product providers will have an opportunity to present their latest innovations to optimise the safe and green operation of tankers.
Day three will consider the Covid-19 pandemic. Tanker operators will detail their experiences of dealing with the many issues thrown up by the pandemic, including alternatives for class inspection, liaising with flag and port state control, and finding safe ways to undertake inspections.
One of the most problematic issues resulting from the pandemic is that of crew change. This has resulted in extended time at sea for the employed and extended time ashore for many others. Tanker operators will share their workarounds for this issue, together with their efforts to make life more comfortable for those trapped onboard.
All these sessions will be followed by online questions and answer sessions, accessible through the Swapcard application.
Network and networking via Swapcard
Running alongside the conference, the exhibition offers a novel alternative to a physical setting. Delegates will still be able to mingle and talk to the exhibitors as we are using the mobile phone app Swapcard.
How will it work? Swapcard has a profile section, where attendees can add in an image, description, biography, and the all-important social media connections.
Attendees are able to join the live sessions and interact with questions and commentary. There are also live links to the event and session sponsors.
The sessions are listed in the agenda and attendees can pick which sessions to attend. They can view in live stream, as the session takes place, or watch a recording of a previously held session. Swapcard’s AI will match the information in the attendee’s profile to the events most likely to be of interest.
During live events, there are links to current speakers, enabling the audience to ask questions and take part, with the bonus of being able to contact the speaker of a recorded session retrospectively.
The Swapcard technology also allows delegates to explore the exhibits and swap information. Exhibitors can also sponsor sessions. The silver sponsors of the Tanker Shipping & Trade conference are Q88 and Palua International Ship Registry.