From the Newsdesk: Transparency, tanker tracking and a turbo-charged Brexit
Our regular round-up of the stories behind the headlines and a timely call to celebrate the innovators, the visionaries and the success stories in shipping
As London International Shipping Week approaches, we recommend that the focus is firmly international (rather than Brexit) and transparency is top of everyone’s agenda. Iran’s latest antics could be written off as yet more political posturing, but the implications all point to more intense scrutiny for shipping and the need for better risk mitigation
Tracking the duped diplomatic deal back to Syria
Following a circuitous route around Cyprus and multiple U-turns over the weekend, the now notorious Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, formerly Grace 1, has slowed to a near halt less than 50 nautical miles off the Syrian coast amid strong indications that its where its cargo of 2m barrels of Iranian crude will finally be discharged.
If that happens (we are yet to see any evidence of a ship-to-ship transfer yet) it will be a direct violation of the terms of its release by Gibraltar authorities earlier this month and the delivery will inevitably reignite diplomatic tension between the European Union, the US and Tehran.
All the latest twists in this sorry saga (including the US Treasury’s blacklisting effort over the weekend) are available on Lloydslist.com, but there is a wider context for shipping worth noting here. The US has made no secret of its crackdown on the opaquer end of shipping still willing to support sanctions busters at the right price. It could be argued that is of no consequence to the ‘good guys’ (AKA Lloyd’s List readers), but how sure can any company really be about its exposure to sanctioned entities?
Scrutiny is increasing, but from what we hear on the Lloyd’s List news desk and via our Lloyd’s List Intelligence colleagues who are forensically tracking every element of shipping, risk mitigation measures from shipping companies are not keeping up, which is why we humbly request you take a look at the event below...
Time for shipping to open up (and for you to sign up)
Transparency in shipping has been topping the newsroom agenda of late at Lloyd’s List. Partly it’s been driven by macro events — Iran’s antics have played a part and avoiding sanctions requires increasingly forensic due diligence across the supply chain to ensure security ‘red flags’ are not raised by international governments and agencies that now monitor every aspect of shipping’s trade links.
But this is only part of a much wider theme that requires a more holistic understanding of digital, financial and regulatory trends. The reality is that shipping’s corporate veil is being pierced by ever more stringent financial and regulatory compliance requirements. On the upside, a fully digitalised supply chain offers a variety of new opportunities but, on the downside, data standardisation and sharing brings with it potential problems surrounding data storage, ownership and transparency.
Transparency is potentially a double-edged sword for shipping stakeholders. For every digital advance that enhances efficiency and secures compliance, there are risks of liability and insurance risk. We think it’s an important area of discussion which is why we’ve drafted in the experts to help us dissect the issues and come up with some practical guidance during London International Shipping Week.
You can find details of the Transparency in Shipping Forum (Monday September 9, 8am-10am, 240 Blackfriars Road, London) here and register to attend. It’s a free event and we would love to see as many of you as possible, but space is limited so we need you to register in advance.
Brexit bright spots, but no silver bullet
Try as we might, it seems this year’s London International Shipping Week discussions will struggle to escape the gravitational pull of Brexit, as democracy crumbles around us and we hurtle towards a no-deal exit with metaphors of large, difficult-to-manoeuvre tankers that much more pertinent to the maritime crowd than most.
Here at Lloyd’s List we are pragmatically determined to look beyond the Brexit chaos and work on the assumption that global trade will not grind to a halt on October 31 and the shipping industry will do what the shipping industry does best and find solutions amid uncertainty.
To aid our positive thinking, we drafted in the ever-optimistic chief executive of the UK Major Ports Group Tim Morris for this week’s edition of the podcast. He’s confident the industry’s planning will see it through.
While the government might wish to believe that port funding new Freeports will be sufficient to ‘turbo-charge’ Britain’s post-Brexit economy, Mr Morris has failed to spot a silver bullet. That said, if you’re looking for a more upbeat account of shipping’s prospects we urge a listen.
And while we’re talking podcasts, get ready for a series of London International Shipping Week special editions. The Lloyd’s List team will be out and about armed with microphones next week and we will be producing a daily edition of the Lloyds List Podcast from the sidelines of the events. Listen for free on Lloydslist.com, or better still, subscribe for free today. You can subscribe to the Lloyd’s List Podcast via iTunes and Spotify, as well as most other podcast providers. And make sure you are registered for a free account on Lloydslist.com so you can receive our Daily Briefing e-mail.
Maritime Cities: Building the connected cluster
While the focus will squarely be on London and Maritime UK Inc next week, the concept of a ‘maritime city’ is evolving and we wanted to take a wider look at the international roster of cities vying for shipping’s business.
Our special Maritime Cities report tours 14 of the regional maritime clusters to take the temperature of international shipping hubs and the businesses within them. While we find business as usual in many locations, the concern is that may no longer be enough.
The world has moved on and technology has in many ways made shipping, and the service sectors that support it, location-agnostic. Cities looking to sustain their maritime business and able to provide the all-inclusive package are still in the game, but it’s a bad time to be niche, or worse, average. Take a look and let us know what you think at NewsDesk@informa.com