The big will get bigger;
the small will get wiped out
~ Meshulam Riklis*
While I do not entirely agree with the quote from Mr. Riklis, it is interesting to note the continuing trend of consolidation and corporate ownership in the maritime industry. Whether the discussion is on military or commerial ventures, the notion that fewer, larger entities are inherently more efficient and cost effective — a notion with as many detractors as supporters — has generally been embraced, as the globalization of business becomes the norm rather than the exception. There remain many strong and efficient medium- and small-sized companies that expertly fill their customer needs far and wide. Simply put, however, increasing levels of regulation are placing prohibitive financial barriers on all, and unfortunately smaller organizations unable to weather another financial storm could be the first to fall.
In this context, I of course speak of the looming deadlines for new security measures mandated under the IMO’s ISPS and the U.S. MTSA. Both measures — their means, method and merit — have been debated exhaustively since the terrorist strikes of 2001. Now, however, it is time to accept their consequence, and to evaluate the impact these regulations will have on your business in the long term.
In this year’s Yearbook edition I am particularly pleased to have received the cooperation of two luminaries that have a great deal of say in this regard. IMO Secretary General
Efthimios E. Mitropoulos lays out the challenges facing the IMO and the maritime industry. There is an editorial from U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Thomas H. Collins, who delivers insights on how the needs of Security and Commerce must be considered in the creation and implementation of new security regulations. The U.S. Coast Guard has been a model of cooperation and effective communication in the run-up to July 1, 2004, making concerted efforts around the world to work together with industry to ensure that it is educated and provided the resources during this transitional time, to the mutual end of providing maximum protection while ensuring that commerce in the United States is not unduly disrupted.
* To save anyone who’s interested from a “Google” search, Riklis was an entreprenuer, one of the first to do a leveraged buyout; a person who predicted today’s merger scene, and perhaps started it. His Riklis family company eventually would do over a billion dollars in annual sales, a major force with its Faberge and Elizabeth Arden products.