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ICS chairman outlines main challenges facing shipping

ICS chairman outlines main challenges facing shipping
In his maiden speech as chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Esben Poulsson outlined some of the main challenges currently facing shipping.

Besides what he called “the truly terrible markets” facing most shipping sectors today and a “chronic problem of overcapacity”, he highlighted three main areas of shipowner concern in a speech to 150 delegates attending the annual ICS Shipping Conference held in the British Library in London today.

First was the need to preserve the authority of the IMO and its international regulatory system in the face of a worrying trend towards regional or national regulations for shipping. “Unless we are very careful, IMO could eventually be reduced to merely rubber stamping decisions which in reality will have been taken elsewhere, whether in Europe, the United States or by the emerging powers in Asia,” he warned.

Second was the ongoing environmental challenge facing shipping, where he urged that “We must be proactive in demonstrating that we are doing everything that we can to achieve a zero accident rate and pollution free environmental record,” he said. “We have to accept that society at large now expects far more from us, and even the smallest deficiencies will no longer be tolerated.”

And finally Poulsson called on the shipping to try and raise its image, saying “the recognition our industry enjoys among policy makers and politicians needs to be further enhanced.” In this respect he praised keynote speaker Kitack Lim, secretary-general on the IMO, for having chosen the theme ‘Shipping – Indispensable to the World’ for this year’s World Maritime Day later this month.

In the following speech Lim returned the compliment by congratulating the ICS chairman on his recent election at the body’s agm in Tokyo this June, saying he looked forward to many years of close co-operation.