Sir Michael Bibby was elected President of the UK Chamber of Shipping at the organisation’s Annual General Meeting in London. He becomes the Chamber’s 132nd president in its 140th year.
John Denholm, chairman of J&J Denholm, was elected Vice-President at the meeting, which was attended by over 100 people from the Chamber’s member companies.
Sir Michael is planning to step back from his position as Managing Director of Bibby Line Group during
2018 to allow him to better focus his time on external work interests, including his involvement with the UK Chamber.
He used his inaugural speech as President to praise the Chamber’s rising political and media influence, and its success with the SMarT Plus campaign, a joint proposal with Nautilus that became Government policy in February.
Tackling issues related to Brexit will continue to be a priority for the new President, who said the Chamber must use its influence to ensure politicians and civil servants fully appreciate the impact that proposed Brexit changes could have on supply chains. The Chamber must work closely with the Government and international partners to find practical solutions to these complex problems, he said.
“We need to work with our European partners in the shipping industry to try to ensure all our neighbours also take such a practical approach to deliver a workable solution
and use whatever influence we can to avoid delays in our ports and unnecessary restrictions on the movement of our people or damaging restrictions on trade through quotas or taxes,” the President said in his speech.
“Brexit may however allow us to develop better policies for the UK going forward and we need to be alert and brave to really represent the best interests of British shipping and promote great ideas to the Government,” he continued.
But the UK Chamber’s work in the years ahead must be more than Brexit, Sir Michael said.
He praised the HiLo safety initiative, which was launched by outgoing President Dr Grahaeme Henderson at the Chamber’s Annual Dinner in February.
“I am delighted that a team dedicated to making it a success will be housed here at the UK Chamber. Not only a vital service in improving the welfare of our seafarers, but a vital new revenue stream for the UK Chamber too,” said Sir Michael.
“And talking of new revenue streams, the work undertaken by the Merchant Navy Training Board on giving an official stamp of recognition to outstanding training courses around the world will continue and strengthen – proving that the UK’s claim to be a world leader in maritime training is more than just rhetoric, it is a reality and we are determined to export our standards around the world,” he continued.
In handing over to his successor, Dr Grahaeme Henderson praised the work of the UK Chamber and emphasised the importance of driving forward the UK’s leadership position in environmental issues and in safety.
“A well-run business is a safe business,” he said. “We are the leaders of the shipping industry and, as leaders, safety starts with us. It is a big burden that we bear on our shoulders.”