At the invitation of Irene Rosberg of the Blue MBA Copenhagen Business School (a member of IMIF) a well attended meeting was set up. It was sad that comparatively few members from the UK could attend – despite their wish to do so – but happily a very representative group mainly based in Copenhagen were assembled. A list of delegates is below:
Lars Bjørnvik, Jenny Braat, Mark Corsetti, Anil Deshpande, Shobha Deshpande, Arne Fredberg, Lars Karlsson, Tore Karlsson, David McLean, Jan Michelsen, David García Pazos, Ekaterina Polyanskaya, Mette Rosenby, Edel Seidenschnur, Johnny Stamnesfet, Michael Steenfeldt, and Mia Vernier.
The first presentation was by myself.
I gave a resume of the extraordinary changes in the maritime scene that have happened in the 60 years since I joined P&O in 1952. This naturally led into the institution of IMIF back in 1975 when at the instigation of such past heroes of the maritime world as Maersk McKinney Moller, Jorgen Jahre, Sir Peter Wallem and Otto Norland as well a myself, a realisation came about that the components of the maritime world: ship owners, ship brokers, shipbuilders, insurers, charterers, bankers and significantly banks must collectively be aware and act in orderly consent. By each sector acting aggressively on their own account a grave scenario of oversupply was being created.
IMIF is not and has no desire to be a monopolistic organisation but by encouraging better inter-modal information (extending to governments of course) the violent extremes of “boom and bust” can be avoided, or at least, lessened.
It is of course discouraging that IMIF’s initiatives have not been followed, and that in 2012 we are faced with, yet again, a huge position of oversupply.
The words of George Santayana
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” is the chosen mantra of IMIF but alas the optimism and cupidity of mankind have combined to maintain the familiar pattern of past years.
However IMIF whose sole agenda is the health of the Maritime Sector will continue on its bruising path.
A particular initiative that IMIF and I have promoted over many years is the concept of “Scrap and Build”. Somewhat startlingly we have today world shipbuilding capacity which could replace the World Fleet every 7 years. The shipbuilders of course want to build ships, banks are hesitant in light of the gigantic oversupply situation to lend so there are moves afoot for governments to intervene. This would be wrong.
What should be promoted, all over again but more vigorously are two fundamental concepts:
1) Development of more technically advanced methods of ship scrapping (preferably “recycling” as a description), the present methods are dirty and dangerous and naturally, do not commend themselves to “advanced” nations “Kiken Katanai Kisen” is the Japanese description. Thus Robotics and other modern techniques must be introduced.
2) Shipbuilders should promote this idea by instead of offering “cheapness” and soft finance, engage themselves in recycling old ships. They should offer good prices for old scrapworthy ships which money would be used to offset and lower the prices of a projected newbuilding.
In fact the concept is blindingly obvious and simple. Additionally it has the merit of being eminently acceptable by the world’s ecologists/Greens.
The old gas-guzzling eco –unfriendly ships would be replaced by the recently devised new shaped hulls and super-efficient engines resulting in significant (14-20%) reduction in Bunker consumption and costs. A doubly succulent thought in these days of high cost bunkers.
Other topics I raised and which involved excellent audience participation included slow steaming and safety.
I found this a most informative session and hope all others felt the same.
In the afternoon we had two absorbing speeches by Torben Janholdt, the CEO of J Lauritzen about the great firm’s changes and ambitions, and by Finn Bjarke Petersen, Director of NORDEA Markets describing the growth and activities of the AP Moller Group.
Stock Markets worldwide have for many years been somewhat wary of shipping stock particularly today when “short termism” abounds whereas shipping is essentially a long term activity.
A most lively debate ensued with both speakers and particular references as to whether their two great Companies were, for the investor, essentially asset plays rather than dividend providers.
The whole day was a worthwhile experience and hearty thanks are due to Irene Rosberg for her organisation and hospitality also to our two speakers and indeed all who attended.