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Three takeaways from London International Shipping Week

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Every two years, London International Shipping Week (LISW) brings together maritime leaders and raises awareness on the most important challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the shipping industry.

Now in its fourth year, the conference hosted over 20,000 attendees through 200 meetings, seminars and functions across the second week of September. With the UK’s Department for Transport’s strategy document released earlier this year, it’s obvious that the industry is now looking at 2050 as the point that the sector will be significantly overhauled. Climate change, decarbonisation and the changes brought by technology, digitalisation and succession dominated the agenda. Below are three takeaways from London International Shipping Week.  

1.     Digitalisation can provide opportunities for a more diverse and equal shipping workforce

From cybersecurity and data management to blockchain and autonomous ships, the industry is changing, and so it needs to adapt in order to survive. The fourth industrial revolution is well-placed to help Maritime’s diversity, attraction and retention problems. Aligned with this, our most recent survey emphasised that 40% of respondents believed their organisation have a retention issue, with companies not having succession plans. At the Women in Shipping Summit, those present were against quotas, however they provided many solutions, inspiration and food for thought. More focus on the language we use when recruiting and onboarding, but also increasing awareness of the industry, visibility of women and empowering both genders to promote women in shipping were among the solutions offered.

2.     Clients react better to the word “risk” rather than to “insurance”

Digitalisation was also a big talking point for the marine insurance sector. Tuesday’s panel hosted by Inmarsat discussed the benefits of digitalisation for the insurance industry, including:

  • improved efficiency and accuracy across the value chain
  • real time data that helps insurers understand risks as they happen and drive transformation

As Marcus Baker, Chairman and Managing Director Global Marine Practice at Marsh Ltd highlighted, technology provides a win-win situation as there are “huge benefits to the clients. Better risks insights can be provided since digitalisation make clients behave differently.” In the future, the sector’s interaction with financial services as well interaction with partners will change, and the industry is already seeing players forming partnerships with insurtech.

Nick Roscoe predicted there will be “different policies, different ways of insurance since you have more tools to evaluate risks.” Ship owners must warm up to all these changes as digitalisation and AI will play an increasing role in helping vessels remain compliant and avoid sanctions.

3.     Most industry players are sceptical that compliance and shipping decarbonisation are on course for 2020

The 0.50% global sulphur coming into effect in 2020 and paths to decarbonisations were without a doubt high on the priorities list for everyone present. Currently standing at 3.5%, IMO promised to provide further GHG guidelines to facilitate the transition.

When it comes to decarbonisation, investing in flexibility will help future-proof the maritime industry. To achieve the IMO’s 2020 target, a two-fold approach is needed: firstly, deploying energy efficient measures, and secondly, investing in carbon neutral fuels. Uptake of alternative fuels such as methanol, ammonia or hydrogen is gaining pace, but wider adoption is still beyond the horizon due to a lack of infrastructure, technical requirements and the high fuel price. LNG was seen by most as the bridging fuel.

When it comes to retrofitting vessels as well as planning for new builds, Lloyd’s List exclusively revealed that “Lloyd’s List exclusively revealed that some scrubber systems are corroding less than six months after installation”.

Whatever the route taken, the imminent transition is expected to cause a rise in fuel costs and a shortage of alternative fuels, for which the industry is not ready.

What does this mean for the maritime industry?

Whether it’s the impact of digitalisation and automation, the changes in organisational dynamics brought by succession and inclusion plans or the increased regulations dictated by the sulphur cap and environmental consideration, the maritime industry is undoubtedly at an exciting point in its history.

Training can help you and your organisation navigate this emerging landscape better. Help your employees stay up-to-date with our new courses on Marine Insurance, Sulphur Cap 2020, Digitalisation and AI.

Visit our website to browse a full list of courses or contact [email protected] to discuss our customised in-company training solutions.