Shipping Neither Indispensable Nor Too Big to Fail

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IT may be somewhat ironic that the World Maritime Day theme this year, ‘Shipping: Indispensable to the world’, comes so swiftly on the heels of discussions in the industry about banks and other large entities that are ‘too big to fail’.  

There may be a serious injustice in that association, but the indispensability of shipping is hardly something individual shipowners have the luxury to sit back and enjoy in today’s market.  Individual owners — or other companies in the broader shipping industry — are generally not indispensable, nor too big to fail.

As a matter of fact, the port of Batumi, Georgia’s maritime center, hosted the Georgia International Maritime Forum (GIMF) this week under the patronage of Prime Minister Georgi Kvirikashvili.  The principal aim of the event was to raise awareness of the indispensability of shipping and the critical need to ensure healthy oceans, which could be achieved through a carefully devised and executed maritime transport policy.

Besides, societal needs are changing, near-sourcing may grow, and emerging economies are altering trade flows.  This will likely impact shipping in the near term, and a future-proofed shipping company will be the one that can meet these challenges positively.

Due to the changing needs in the market and to ensure that an established future-proofed shipping company, steps are taken at its best.  One classic example is the launch of the GIMF 2016 inaugurated event which is to be convened biennially in this Black Sea country, as one initiative of the Georgian Government for the promotion of excellence in shipping worldwide through high-level discussions by regulators and industry players.

At GIMF 2016, Georgia highlights its economic and business inputs by showcasing the reforms it undertook in developing its maritime industry.  At the same time, it invites ship owners and investors to partake of the opportunities offered by the country in vessel management, crewing, shipping and logistics.  Almost all Georgian speakers, both from government and industry, spoke about doing business in an environment free from bureaucratic processes, red tape and corruption.  It is an event that promotes Georgia as a friendly jurisdiction for ship owners and maritime stakeholders.

So back to the International Maritime Organization’s World Maritime Day theme of indispensability.  Shipping may not need to acknowledge its indispensably but it should recognize its responsibilities and its successes.

At Lloyd’s List, there are global (and regional) awards to help promote the excellence of the industry, and now they are also developing a series of invite-only executive briefings to help the leaders of shipping shape the industry’s future.

To add on, what is impressive in the Georgian event is the active participation of agencies such as the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development, the Ministry of Infrastructure, and the Ministry of Finance, all of which play key roles in advancing the country’s maritime industry.  Underpinning the Georgian initiative to stimulate the maritime industry is an integrated national maritime policy that brings together the various sectors, e.g. manning and crewing, shipping operations and ship management, and port operations, to name a few, towards a cohesive and harmonized direction.

Shipping industry may be indispensable and no single entity should be too big to fail, but there is no harm in being prepared and well armed for whatever may happen.  The best weapons of choice are information and data.  As accurate as possible, as relevant as possible, and — why be coy — as much as possible.

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Source: Lloyd’s List

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