As top executives from world-leading companies addressed “What’s Next?” for the shipping industry – the heart of the global economy – they looked to its ability to innovate and adapt.
With some 1,000 people turning up for Nor-Shipping’s Opening Conference on June 4, some had to be moved to another room where the conference was broadcast simultaneously.
“The world is changing. We are at a crossroads and a tipping point. Shipping is clearly facing new challenges. As we navigate through challenging waters ahead, we need a pioneering spirit,” said IMO Secretary-General Koji Sekimizu.
The opening up of the Arctic will be a “gamechanger”, said Elisabeth Grieg, Co-owner of the Grieg Group. Others agreed. “Our children will be the first generation to witness an entire new ocean opening up,” said Sturla Henriksen, Director General of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association.
This will also bring with it challenges. Since the early 1970s until now we’ve seen an increase in the challenges and complexities of environmental concerns, noted Vice Admiral Peter Neffenger, Deputy Commandant for Operations at the U.S. Coast Guard.
Claus V.Hemmingsen, CEO of Maersk Drilling and Partner, Member of the Executive Board of A.P. Møller-Maersk, said the company’s focus on fuel efficiency helped it cut its fuel bill by USD 1.6 billion in 2012, allowing it to remain competitive.
ICS Chairman Masamichi Morooka noted that the shipping industry is still in the middle of an extremely serious downturn and that many environmental regulations coming into force now were conceived in a different world when the industry was booming. “There is a danger in creating real barriers to investment,” he said.
Others speakers agreed, noting the importance of not penalizing those who are trying to solve the issue by following the rules – which also costs a lot of money. “Everyone has to be on the same playing field. Otherwise, they incur costs that put them out of business,” said Andreas Sohmen-Pao, CEO of BW Group.
When moderator Todd Benjamin, an award winning-journalist and CNN analyst, asked speakers to name one thing they believe will have the biggest affect on shipping in the next few years, they said LNG.
Messe NO, June 6, 2013