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SSA president tells CMA of technological advances shapping the industry

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Esben Poulsson, President of the Singapore Shipping Association and Vice Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping, spoke at the CMA Shipping conference on the topic of ‘Defining the Successful Shipping Enterprise of the Future – What does the industry need to consider in order to be successful in the business tomorrow’. 

Speaking alongside other industry leaders, Mr Poulsson chose to emphasis the word ‘tomorrow’ in his speech and how this word forces the industry to think about future advances, particularly in technology.

A universal theme across the shipping industry today is the need for efficiencies. Esben Poulsson stated: “It is clear that companies need to be more innovative in their approach and they need to embrace new technology to help drive costs down and optimise the performance of their sea-going assets.”

Covering a number of other potential advantages of technological developments, he considered how robots and drones could assist with work in dangerous environments including extreme temperatures or with toxic chemicals.

Another hot topic for the CMA conference is Big Data and Mr Poulsson discussed, with relish, how he saw Big Data shaping industry practices of the future. “The future is not logging on any longer, but it is about having access to constantly streamed data including between ship and shore. I foresee that live streaming of data between sea and shore will become the norm in the near future, ” he told delegates.

In order to secure a bright future for the shipping industry and to implement these exciting possibilities, Mr Poulsson mentioned how important he thought it was to attract new blood in the form of the next generation.

“We need to work with our regulators and our customers and our investors to make shipping the cutting edge, state-of-the-art industry we know it is so we can attract the right talent to its doors. Tomorrow’s successful enterprises need this, ” he said.

Mr Poulsson also talked about the importance of greater cooperation between the industry, its associations and the regulator.

He told delegates: “The industry needs to show a greater willingness to work with and support associations actively engaged in the interests of the industry – that means practitioners working with and supporting their national and international associations much more.

“This is an important point because the industry is supported by these associations – whether regional, national or international – and whilst their members are supportive of the work they do, full engagement is essential if companies are to get the correct operating environment.

“In closing, I would also like to put some pressure on the regulators, both international and national, to improve their game to keep pace with the evolution of the smart industry.  Smart regulation should be a mutual aspiration. The development of regulation needs much greater governmental ownership of risk assessment and cost benefit analysis to avoid unintended consequences and to bring future regulation into effect quickly and avoid unintended consequences, ” he said.

About the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA)

The Singapore Shipping Association (SSA) represents a wide spectrum of shipping companies and other businesses allied to the shipping industry. It is a national trade association formed in 1985 to serve and promote the interests of its members and to enhance the competitiveness of Singapore as an International Maritime Centre

To achieve its objectives, the SSA plays an active role in promoting the interests of shipping in Singapore and internationally, and co-operates with other regional and international shipping organisations to protect the marine environment and promote freedom and safety at sea. Currently SSA represents some 470 member companies; comprising shipowners and operators, ship managers, ship agents and other ancillary companies such as shipbrokers, classification societies, marine insurers, bunker suppliers, maritime lawyers, and shipping bankers amongst others.


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