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Friday, December 15, 2017

Swift suggests shipping industry pressure points in five years’ time

A key session at this week’s Cyprus Shipping Council 2005 Conference focused on the means to improve the image of the industry, the importance of maintaining an international regulatory environment for the industry, and the looming shortage of adequate manpower and the anticipated investment in new tonnage. 

INTERTANKO Managing Director Dr. Peter Swift joined an Industry Panel looking at what lies ahead of the industry. 

Swift,looking forward five years,

  • insists that future ships had to be “greener” to meet society’s expectations on zero accidents, zero emissions to the ocean as well as being scrapped in an environmentally acceptable manner;
  • suggests that regulatory and peer pressure would put flag state competence and flag selection under greater scrutiny;
  • highlights that more attention will need to be placed on maintenance and owners’ policies on maintenance – this is not only a commercial necessity to ensure ship reliability but will also be needed to complement the drive for through-life robust shipping. At the same time he recognises that there are few industry guides and still fewer standards, and suggests that industry should address this matter before the regulators do;
  • is optimistic that shipowners will carry more influence in Brussels and elsewhere – in part because of the mutual desire of the European Commission, European Parliament and the European Maritime Safety Agency (EMSA) to engage in constructive dialogue and partnership with the industry, and in part because through a demonstration of continuous improvement owners would earn more of the respect that they deserve; this is a major contributor to the development of more effective regulation and greater acceptance of the industry’s ability to self-regulate in many areas, he suggests.
  • believes that charterers will be held more accountable as there develops a better recognition that substandard ships and substandard shipowners, as well as substandard flags, substandard class, and indiscriminate insurers, only survive because of their use and employment by charterers and other cargo interests;
  • anticipates that the role of classification societies will be further challenged as politicians and regulators come to understand their influence over the standards and implementation of statutory requirements within the shipping industry;
  • confidently predicts that the leading shipowner associations will flourish, with the agenda before them increasing all the time, and their effectiveness and voice growing stronger in their representation of a responsible, sustainable and respected industry.

Finally with tongue-in-cheek he said he is certain that there will be even more shipping conferences, many of which will be hard to justify (apart from Cyprus and a few others), but that the maritime industries will still struggle to attract the attention of the man-in-the-street through such events. 

Contact: Peter Swift