Posted on: 7th January 2019
Maritime London is truly the sum of its parts, we are reliant on the engagement from our members, and I understand, we have put a number of calls on your precious time this year. So, it makes sense to start this missive by saying thank you to the Maritime London board, all those who have sat on a panel or a forum, spoken at an event, hosted an event, joined a delegation or engaged in any way. We can all be justly proud about what we have achieved together in 2018.
This year has seen Maritime London do more than ever before to promote and represent the interests of our members within government, Maritime UK and internationally. A core part of Maritime London’s work has always been providing thought leadership and networking events for our membership and the wider shipping community. This year we have run over twenty events, from whole day conferences to focused lunches and dinners.
As you will know, 2018 saw Maritime London warmly welcome the IMIF members into the association, in addition, a healthy number of new members joined the Maritime London stable, both big and small, with others promising to sign on the dotted line in 2019! Please see below a list of new members whose company information can be found on Maritime London website:
- James Fisher & Sons
- Jumar Solutions
- North of England P&I
- Solis Marine Consultants
- Tufton Oceanic
In many ways, Maritime Professional Business Services (MPBS) have sat on the periphery of the broader shipping industry’s engagement with government. However, in a time where we see significant challenges and opportunities for MPBS in the UK, positive engagement with the government has become a substantial part of Maritime London’s work. I am now pleased to say that our world-leading sector is central to the government’s understanding of what constitutes commercial shipping in the UK. This year, Maritime London in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) launched ‘The Maritime Services Forum’. After three meetings and government listening to both the concerns and opportunities within the sector, Maritime London and the DfT have commissioned a ‘Business Environment Report’. The report will objectively appraise the business environment for shipping in the UK, our strengths and weaknesses and importantly provide an evidence base to enable substantive policy recommendations to ensure we have a world-beating environment for shipping interests.
Maritime London has contributed to every stage of the Government’s flagship strategy for maritime – Maritime 2050, and from what we have seen so far MPBS is central to the government’s view of the industry over the next thirty years. Of course, MPBS is an export industry, and in 2018 Maritime London has been working increasingly closely with the Department for International Trade (DIT). In September, companies from each sub-sector our membership made presentations about their particular field at a training day for senior representatives from the DIT global network. Because of this very productive meeting, the DIT is now in the process of recruiting an ‘MPBS specialist’, who, in partnership with Maritime London, will develop opportunities for our members in overseas jurisdictions and promote inward investment into London and the UK.
I have also been invited to join the governments ‘Clean Maritime Council’ to represent MPBS, as the whole industry comes to terms with not only the 2020 but also 2050. Lastly, Maritime London is working hard with relevant departments on potential mechanisms to support UK-based ship finance, and we expect that this work will begin to pay dividends in 2019.
Maritime UK has evolved into a valuable resource and is allowing the wider sector, where appropriate, to present a united front to government and promote the strength of our holistic maritime offer internationally. In 2018, Maritime London, as a founding member of Maritime UK, has played an active role within the grouping, sitting on a number of working groups, contributing to the maritime ‘Sector Deal’ and the DIT 5-year maritime strategy. I was of course very pleased when Maritime London’s Vice Chairman Harry Theochari was elected to be the next Chair of Maritime UK, with fellow Maritime London Director Sarah Kenny becoming Vice Chair. My sincere congratulations go to both; I do not doubt with Harry and Sarah at the helm, Maritime UK is well-placed to represent us all at what is a crucial time for the industry.
As mentioned earlier; networking events whether they are dinners, lunches, seminars or conferences have always been central to what we do. I believe Maritime London offers an unparalleled calendar of events in terms of subject matter and quality. In 2018, we have held events as diverse as ‘the role of restructuring in shipping’ to a whole day conference exploring the effects of autonomous vessels on MPBS. We consistently attract leading figures from the market to speak and attend, and it is always worth noting, apart from the Annual Dinner, all our events are free to attend for members.
Bringing IMIF into the Maritime London orbit has added genuine value to our events calendar, through both the excellent lunch-time seminars and of course the dinner and the pre-dinner conference. This year the Annual Dinner was kindly supported by New York Maritime (NYMAR), highlighting the collaboration between our two well-established clusters. The dinner was very well attended and we were fortunate enough to have the Minister for Maritime Nusrat Ghani MP as the keynote speaker. The Minister laid out the full scope of Maritime London-DfT engagement over 2018 and reminded us all that there is much work to do if shipping is to emerge from the current political environment in the UK and overseas as a stronger, more resilient sector.
In 2018, we can expect more of the same regarding our calendar of events and then, of course, there will be LISW19! Maritime London is, through my membership of the Steering Group and Lord Mountevans’ Chairmanship of the Board of Advisors central to the planning of the week. Plans are also afoot to put on several Maritime London events in partnership with our members, showcasing the strength of the MPBS offer.
It is also worth remembering that Maritime London collaborates with some of the leading shipping conferences and events. Discounted rates are always made available to Maritime London members.
The overriding theme for our seminars this year has been how the sector is going to adapt to the increasing levels of digitisation within the industry. As a consequence, in 2019, Maritime London will be launching a Tech & Innovation Working Group to provide a roadmap on how the sector will need to adjust to this fast-changing technological world.
With the broader market uncertainty, there has never been a more critical time to promote the UK’s MPBS offer overseas.
In 2018, Maritime London had a significant presence at Posidonia, hosting a Brexit Seminar at the UK Ambassador’s Residence and playing an active role in a number of other events. We also worked with the DfT to ensure the Minister for Maritime attended the exhibition, addressed the Ambassador’s Reception and met with leading owners. Affirming the value of our engagement throughout the week, the Greek Union of Shipowners expressed an interest in the UK post-Brexit as a base for the Greek owning community. We also maintain a constant dialogue with the Greek Shipping Cooperation Committee to ensure we represent their interests within the UK cluster.
In November, we were at the Hong Kong Maritime Week, during which we met with owners and had constructive discussions on the advantages of operating in the UK. We held an excellent seminar in partnership with the Hong Kong Maritime Port Board (HKMPB) focusing on the mutual opportunities for our clusters. We also had a roundtable discussion with the Secretary for Transport Mr Frank Chan and representatives from the HKMPB on what steps we can take to facilitate cooperation between the two jurisdictions. The discussion included: HKMPB’s presence at LISW19, how we can cooperate in adapting to the technological changes in maritime services and how the unpredictable trade environment may affect global shipping and the two clusters. The culmination of Maritime London’s schedule of events was a reception held at the British Consulate General kindly sponsored by EY.
Maritime London members played a lead role in the Maritime UK delegation to New York which was led by Julian Clark of Hill Dickinson, and we were delighted to have NYMAR join us in November for the annual dinner. In November, Lord Mountevans and Maritime London Director Mark Lloyd joined the Maritime UK delegation to Chile, led by the Maritime UK Patron HRH The Princess Royal. Both spoke at various events including one held by the Ministry of Justice promoting the advantages of UK maritime law to Chilean ship owners and managers. Lord Mountevans also led UK representatives in welcoming a delegation from one of the fastest developing ports in China, Guangzhou, to London in September.
It’s been a busy year, and I take great heart in the level of engagement we have had from members, both large and small. As mentioned earlier, ‘The Business Environment Report’, due to be published early next year, will provide the foundation of Maritime London’s government engagement strategy, as we emerge from the Brexit-shaped cloud currently enveloping us. We will continue to take a long-term view of the sector, and our events schedule will reflect this. International engagement is vitally important, so in 2019, we will do more to ensure we are making the most of the DIT’s global network in promoting our members’ interests. Maritime London will continue to support Maritime UK and make sure MPBS is actively represented within the broader sector. Lastly, there is always more we can do and areas where we can improve, so please hold our feet to the fire and make the most of your subscription by playing an active role in the membership.
I look forward to working with you all in 2019, on what will again be a full agenda. However, that is all for a couple of weeks’ time. For now, I would like to thank you all for your support of Maritime London and wish you a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year.
Chief Executive, Maritime London