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Tanker conference focuses on environmental and human capital challenges and growth opportunities

IMG_9481The second The Maritime Standard Tanker Conference, which took place at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Dubai, on 24th October, underlined the potential that exists for growth and development within the region’s tanker sector. To achieve this, however, speakers stressed there was a need not just for investment, but closer collaboration between different stakeholders, to create the foundations for sustainable success. Other key themes included environmental regulations and their impact on tanker shipping; crewing and the need to invest in human capital; and the implications of digitalization and ‘Big Data’ for this business.

The Conference was a sell-out this year, with a packed Conference hall hearing from a host of top speakers from different segments of the tanker business and support sectors. The event attracted a top quality audience of more than 150 people, including delegates from all the leading tanker owners and operators from across the region.

The high profile one day Conference, organised by The Maritime Standard, a division of Flagship Events, provided a unique insight into what is happening in the tanker market and the likely trends over the years ahead. The messages were relevant not just for tanker owners and operators, but all companies providing services to the tanker sector.

The keynote speeches set the tone for an enlightening day. H.E. Sheikh Talal Al Khaled Al Sabah, chief executive of Kuwait Oil Tanker Company (KOTC), gave the audience the full benefit of his many years of experience with some unique insights into likely market patterns. He was followed by Abdullah Bin Damithan, commercial director, DP World, who outlined Dubai’s intention to invest to create a multi-faceted petrochemicals hub that will have significant implications for tanker and related trades.

Speakers in the first session who discussed the key political and economic factors affecting the tanker market, included Chris Peters, chief executive, Emirates Ship Investment Company; Gaurav Moolwaney, executive director, Standard Chartered; Ali Shehab, deputy CEO, KOTC; and Philip Tinsley, maritime security manager at BIMCO.

There then followed a session focusing on the challenges and opportunities facing the market, which contained some thought providing comments from Petros Doukas, chairman of Capital Partners and former Greek deputy minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs. The high quality panel in this session also included Tarik Al Junaidi, chief executive, Oman Shipping Company; Omar Abu Omar, president, maritime and operations, Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC; and Roger Harfouch, regional director, Marlink Communications, who offered some thoughts around the impact of digitalization on this sector.

A final session on the need to build maritime clusters of services and expertise, chaired by Richard Briggs, executive partner, Hadef & Partners; heard about the importance of the new Emirates Maritime Arbitration Centre. There was also a chance to gain valuable insights from Dr Ruanthi De Silva, chief executive of SCM Plus; Thomas Kriwat, chief executive, Mercmarine; Lakshmi Janarthanan, commercial director of Drydocks World Dubai; Ralph Becker, head of business development-Middle East, DNV GL; and Katherine Yakunchenkova, general manager, Al Safina Security. The event rounded up with a chance for speakers and attendees to network informally at a special reception.

Trevor Pereira, managing director of The Maritime Standard, said: “This was our second Tanker Conference and it exceeded our expectations, as we completely sold out. Everyone who came left with some important messages to take back to their companies and the feedback about the quality of the presentations has been overwhelmingly positive. As well as getting unique insights from some of the top names in the industry, the networking opportunity was exceptional, with delegations from many different countries in the room.”

TMS is already planning the third Tanker Conference in 2018.Details will be available on the TMS website.

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