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InterManager President Calls for ‘One Voice’ for Shipping

Mike Schuler
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September 23, 2021

The international trade association representing the ship management industry is calling for a single voice for shipping when it comes to working with regulators or risk “knee-jerk, populist policies” that could turn away potential investors.

In proposing a new “International Maritime Committee” (IMC), Mark O’Neil, President of InterManager and CEO of Columbia Shipmanagement, says shipping needs “one voice” to represent it globally and enable the maritime community to communicate more effectively with regulators.

As the industry builds up to the COP26 UN climate conference in November, O’Neil urged it to capitalize on the cooperation achieved in collectively working to tackle the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, in order to address other global issues.

Collectively InterManager members are involved in the management of more than 5,000 ships and responsible for in excess of 250,000 seafarers.

Speaking during the International Shipowning and Shipmanagement Summit during last week’s London International Shipping Week (LISW21), O’Neil proposed the creation of the ‘International Maritime Committee’ (IMC) comprising representatives from all maritime sectors with a presidency rotating between member organizations. The IMC would collate all relevant views and opinions from within the various maritime sectors and present the results of informed industry debate to governments making decisions, which will impact how shipping operates in the future.

“I do think as an industry there is a crying need for greater collaboration between those bodies that govern the various aspects of the industry,” said O’Neil.

“We need to influence the debate when it comes before the governments who decide. At the moment we have various bodies all doing their part for their members but those members representing only a part of the industry. We need our industry views put across in a single voice,” he said.

“IMO does its job very well but it is not the voice of shipping nor was it ever intended to be,” said O’Neil, pointing out that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is a regulator not a lobbyist.

Declaring that shipping had too often been late to discussions and the ‘Johnny-come-lately’ of international debate, he commented: “Shipping is a long-term investment industry and it cannot operate on knee-jerk, populist policies otherwise investors will go elsewhere.

Act now or “otherwise shipping risks losing its long-standing elevated status within the overall logistics chain,” he said.

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