Twenty WISTA USA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association) members travel to Paris for the AGM.
This annual gathering of WISTA members in locations around the world is augmented by industry leaders who participate in the three-day event as both speakers and delegates. This year a record 283 attended the event from 34 countries.
The conference was kicked off by Peter Hinchliffe, Secretary General for the International Chamber of Shipping. Mr. Hinchliffe stressed the need for the international regulatory community to look for rational approaches to effecting change. Regarding compliance with the upcoming Ballast Water Management Convention, he stated “The shipping industry is being asked to meet a costly and impossible time scale,. We need to extend the timeframe.”
Another hot button was a panel discussion of “New Regulations and New Challenges for Shipping,” which included Juan Riva, President of the European Community Shipowners' Association; Jeanne Grasso of Blank Rome who commented that “Whistle blowing seems to be an emerging business model for seafarers in the US”; Danella Wilmshurst of HWL Ebsworth on Australian regulations, highlighting a “New regulation making charterers liable for oil spills”; and Jean-Francois Minster of Total on the oil and gas energy supply.
In addition to regulations, the condition of ship finance today was discussed in a panel led by WISTA USA’s Kathy Haines of Heidmar, with Vincent Pascal of BNP Paribas, and Madelon Bangma of Ernst & Young describing the realities of this sector today.
Additionally, Raymond Vidil, President of Armateurs de France pleaded for assistance: “Bunker fuel is now 50% of operating costs, followed by vessel cost/debt service. Owners need some relief!”
In a session on leadership, Birgit Liodden, General Secretary of YoungShip International observed: “The younger generation is looking for value-based role models who have a globalized awareness and expectation of development.”