For tanker shipping to adopt change, there first needs to be working examples of the benefits of such change, and for that to happen leaders are required.
In early 2020, it was generally thought that the Covid-19 pandemic would be over as soon as a vaccine was available. Now, in mid-2021, several vaccines have been available for months, and still the virus rages around the world and the associated problems for the sea-faring community persist.
It is looking increasingly likely that we will have to live with Covid-19 and its variants for the foreseeable future. Instead, let us look to the positives impacting the industry at the moment. One such development is the unified voice that the industry has started to speak with. This is the aim of Mark O’Neil of Columbia Shipmanagement, who has taken on the presidency of InterManager with the remit of presenting a clear and concise dialogue from the shipping industry to the outside world.
“Industry Leaders are helping restructure the industry from the inside out”
This includes the impact of Covid-19 on crew and the Neptune Declaration, a set of actions to facilitate crew change, chaired by Graham Westgarth of V Group. This initiative is echoed at a local level by Bjorn Holgaard of the Hong Kong Ship Owners Association (HKSOA) and Anglo-Eastern. It is a times like these that shipping associations like HKSOA become the de facto source of information for what is happening in the locale.
Other Industry Leaders are helping restructure the industry from the inside out, to tackle the key issue of decarbonisation. Instead of waiting for the EU or governments to show leadership, the Poseidon Principles aim to highlight the progress shipping companies and ship finance banks have made in steering funds to the projects that most effectively combat this global issue. The initiative is led by one of the most respected names in the ship finance world, Michael Parker of Citi.
For the industry to truly change, it needs to have the most powerful group in shipping on board, ie the clients. The creation of the Sea Cargo Charter, under the chair of Jan Dieleman of Cargill, reinforces the commitment of charterers to change.
But not all the initiatives dominating shipping are focused on Covid-19 or decarbonisation, some are social. A number of Industry Leaders are trying to address the lack of female presence throughout the industry. Both Joakim Lund of Thun Tanker and Jan Rindbo of Norden are leading organisations committed to increasing the number of women at sea and ashore. Which is at least one positive note to end on.