Danish shipowners’ leader Anne Steffensen, in an address to WISTA Denmark, calls the industry into battle to meet regulatory challenges
A number of ‘‘must win’ battles facing Denmark’s shipping industry have been outlined by Anne Steffensen, director -general of the Danish Shipowners Association. Ms Steffensen was speaking when welcoming members of WISTA Denmark on a visit to her headquarters.
Ms Steffensen is the newest member of WISTA Denmark, which is part of the Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association. As the leading spokesperson in the shipowners’ organisation, which includes more than 40 maritime companies controlling vessels totalling of 14m dwt, and two offshore operators, her assessments of the hurdles facing the industry are keenly followed.
She said that the industry had to confront a series of challenges, one of which was the need for the same framework conditions for vessels operating in the offshore sector as apply to other parts of the shipping industry.
Secondly, there was concern over the implementation of regulations on the sulphur content of bunkers. “We are ready to switch to the marine diesel requirement and have installed scrubber technology on a number of our ships, but it seems that not all countries are enforcing the regulations – and those who are not following the rules seem to be in a more advantageous position as they can offer lower freight rates.”
One of the challenges with recent regulation is that we lack technology to support the enforcement of regulations, said Ms Steffensen. Ballast water treatment is another example where we do not have common approved standards for systems. “We have to be better in the future on establishing a constructive dialogue between politicians, authorities and the shipping industry before we decide on new regulation, making sure that technology and enforcement is in place when the regulations enter into force. These are some of the topics that will be addressed during the Danish Maritime Days in October when we shall have 250 top executives from shipping and related industries in Copenhagen participating in debates, talks, conferences etc, and we hope we can provide answers to some of these questions.”
Ms Steffensen, a former ambassador to London and holder of senior positions in Denmark’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, opened the proceedings by talking of the work of the shipowners’ association and her own background.
She shared her vision for the association, which had to be “a member-focused organisation, close to the members, finding out what they need, what can we do for them.” It should be more globally visible, “not only as an association but also as an industry.”
It should be an association which not only asks the questions but also contributes to the answers.
It must be socially responsible, “capitalising on the values we provide by creating jobs and growth.”
It should be better in discussing society issues, including being in the forefront of environmental matters. It must hold continuing focus “on how we could be more energy efficient, ” and exert its influence to have put in place the right regulations “which also helps us stay competitive.”
The association must “make sure the public knows of what we are doing as enablers of trade and energy supply, and in providing growth and jobs.”
It must be the driving force for Blue Denmark, as the nation’s maritime sector is known, and also influence the regional and international framework.
Ms Steffensen declared: “We cannot do much about the low market rates but we need to make sure that we have the right fleet, contracts and good working conditions. ”
WISTA Denmark president Irene Rosberg, who is programme director of the Executive MBA in Shipping & Logistics (the Blue MBA) at Copenhagen Business School, thanked Ms Steffensen for her presentation, adding: “Her energy and drive are most inspiring.”