Reg­u­la­tors vs. In­dus­try

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

This year’s “Mar­itime Cyprus” opened at the Evago­ras Lani­tis Cen­tre on Monday, aptly ti­tled “Yes­ter­day’s World, To­mor­row’s To­day”, where Pres­i­dent Ni­cos Anas­tasi­ades high­lighted the im­por­tant role ship­ping plays in the re­cov­ery of the Cyprus econ­omy and pro­mo­tion of the is­land in general.

Cyprus has es­tab­lished it­self as a re­spect­ful mar­itime flag and as a base for in­ter­na­tional ship­ping op­er­a­tions, of­fer­ing a favourable regime for for­eign in­vestors, he said, adding that Cyprus is one of the fastest grow­ing economies of the Euro­pean Union whereas for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment has sig­nif­i­cantly in­creased.

The pres­i­dent said that the ship­ping sec­tor has been cat­alytic to the re­cov­ery of the econ­omy which is why the gov­ern­ment has de­clared that it will es­tab­lish an in­de­pen­dent Deputy Min­istry for Ship­ping, a long-stand­ing de­mand of all stake­hold­ers. The new Deputy Min­istry will start from March 1, 2018, re­plac­ing the Depart­ment of Mer­chant Ship­ping, presently a di­vi­sion of the Min­istry of Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

The conference dis­cus­sions started on Monday with “Fu­ture Ship­ping Strat­egy: Reg­u­la­tors vs. In­dus­try”, mod­er­ated by Trans­port Min­is­ter Mar­ios Deme­tri­ades.

The keynote ad­dresses were de­liv­ered by Ki­tack Lim, Sec­re­tary General of the In­ter­na­tional Mar­itime Or­gan­i­sa­tion and Magda Kopczyn­ska, Di­rec­tor of DG Move of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion, on be­half of Vi­o­leta Bulc, Com­mis­sioner for Trans­port of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. Lim and Kopczyn­ska par­tic­i­pated in the panel dis­cus­sion to­gether with Es­ben Pouls­son, Chair­man of the In­ter­na­tional Cham­ber of Ship­ping and Niels Smede­gaard, Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mu­nity Shipown­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

Views were aired on the fu­ture chal­lenges for com­mer­cial ship­ping, with the im­por­tance of in­ten­si­fy­ing co­op­er­a­tion be­tween all play­ers in the mar­itime sec­tor, en­sur­ing a level play­ing field, and pre­par­ing to­day the ship­ping of to­mor­row.

All pan­el­lists agreed that they do not see there is as a ques­tion of “reg­u­la­tors ver­sus in­dus­try”. There is a long and suc­cess­ful his­tory of reg­u­la­tors and in­dus­try work­ing to­gether to achieve com­mon, shared ob­jec­tives; ob­jec­tives which, if achieved, will have a ben­e­fi­cial and pos­i­tive ef­fect not just on the in­dus­try but far be­yond. It was stressed that the reg­u­la­tors need to be more proac­tive and the speed of adapt­ing to tech­no­log­i­cal de­vel­op­ments should in­crease.

One of the main chal­lenges iden­ti­fied was the de­car­bon­i­sa­tion of the mar­itime sec­tor. Par­tic­u­lar ref­er­ence was made to the am­bi­tious ef­forts made jointly by the reg­u­la­tors and the ship­ping in­dus­try to re­duce car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. Views were ex­changed on the dis­cus­sions cur­rently un­der­way at the IMO re­gard­ing the de­vel­op­ment of a global strat­egy that will set the per­cent­age by which the sec­tor’s to­tal car­bon diox­ide emis­sions should de­crease. It was men­tioned since ship­ping is a global is­sue, the IMO re­mains the most ap­pro­pri­ate fo­rum.

Among the points raised was that fu­ture ship­ping leg­is­la­tion should es­tab­lish re­quire­ments for the use of tech­nol­ogy that is al­ready ef­fec­tively avail­able to the in­dus­try and not within lab­o­ra­to­ries. An en­vi­ron­men­tally sus­tain­able in­dus­try also needs to be eco­nom­i­cally sus­tain­able. The need for the de­vel­op­ment of al­ter­na­tive fu­els and new propul­sion sys­tems in or­der to po­ten­tially lead to a zero car­bon fu­ture was also ex­pressed.

The in­dus­try’s com­mit­ment to a low car­bon fu­ture was noted as well as its de­sire for an even bet­ter ap­proach to mar­itime leg­is­la­tion, build­ing upon the comprehensive global frame­work al­ready pro­vided by the IMO.

An­other chal­lenge re­ferred to was dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion. It was noted that the au­to­ma­tion of ship­ping is al­ready be­com­ing a re­al­ity and will ac­cel­er­ate in the years to come with the ad­van­tage of en­hanc­ing nav­i­ga­tional safety and mak­ing op­er­a­tions more ef­fi­cient. It was fur­ther noted that the chal­lenge of cy­berse­cu­rity also needs to be planned to­day.

The pan­el­lists an­a­lysed the fact that al­though the de­mand for oil is chang­ing due to the shift to re­new­able sources of clean en­ergy, the need for trans­port­ing crude oil and oil prod­ucts with tanker ves­sels will not ex­tinct and this is highly un­re­al­is­tic, at least not for the next 25 years which is the life span of the tankers built.

It was men­tioned that it is not pos­si­ble that the world will no longer need crude oil and clean prod­ucts or that oil will be able to be trans­ported from source to con­sump­tion with­out us­ing tanker ves­sels. The West may pur­sue more en­thu­si­as­ti­cally the move to re­new­able en­ergy but the de­mand for oil will in­crease in Asia, Africa and other emerg­ing economies of the world. It was noted that routes and trades may change dra­mat­i­cally go­ing for­ward and the tanker fleet size may need to be ad­justed to fit changes in de­mand.

The i mpor­tance of the en­vi­ron­ment pro­tec­tion was stressed but so was the need to ful­fil the ba­sic eco­nomic needs in the emerg­ing economies of the de­vel­op­ing coun­tries. The pan­el­lists con­cluded that tanker own­ers are vul­ner­a­ble but cer­tainly do not con­sti­tute an en­dan­gered species. They noted that they an­tic­i­pate an im­prove­ment in the mar­ket. Main­tain­ing a bal­ance be­tween sup­ply and de­mand is es­sen­tial for en­sur­ing a bright fu­ture for tanker own­ers.

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