London Shipping Professionals Weigh in for SPNL Report
The Shipping Professional Network London (SPNL) has released their full Future London report, an initiative that gathered the views and opinions of London’s young shipping professionals on what needs to be done for London to retain and improve its position as a global maritime capital.
The report was led by Gustav Ellingsen, SPNL Immediate Past Chair and Claudio Chiste, SPNL Chairman who works at Investec Shipping & Marine Finance. “The driver behind the SPNL Future London project was to use the superb resource of the SPNL: access to some of the most active and passionate participants of the London shipping industry - the young shipping professionals. To our knowledge nobody had really systematically focussed on this area before. The young professionals in our view are key to maintaining a successful shipping cluster in London going forward. We therefore need to understand what the current young professionals (and future industry leaders) think about local barriers to working here, international competition and job market and general outlook,” Gustav said.
In line with the vision and strategic objectives of SPNL, the survey was conducted in an interactive and original way, organizing presentations, workshops and focus groups. The project gained major industry support which spanned across various sectors, with one session even being hosted by a former Shipping Minister, in Lord Clinton-Davis, at the House of Lords.
“Despite the challenges we believe that London has a powerful brand and legacy which is not being fully leveraged. A particular strength, which is difficult to replicate is London’s rich maritime heritage. This has been built up over centuries and the reputation established by the Baltic Exchange for trust in transactions: ‘our word, our bond’. Not capitalising on these strengths could jeopardise London’s strong market position – the insurance market and the global/open nature of the economy having been highlighted as two of London’s major strengths. This needs to be showcased to the world, with the inaugural London International Shipping Week playing an important role in this. London is the location for highly developed, and sometimes world leading, sectors such as maritime insurance, legal expertise, broking, technical expertise, ship finance expertise/capital markets and education.” added Claudio
On the point of education, speaking further about the report findings, Gustav continued, “The UK is a first class maritime educator, yet for many graduates there are either onerous visa requirements, or it is simply not possible to get internships or jobs here. This means that London, and the shipping industry, is losing a lot of young talent every year.
There is a perception if you can make it in London you can make it anywhere. This attracts young talent and is therefore a significant recruitment advantage for shipping companies. Similarly, we should not be afraid of people leaving London having worked here. They are likely to remain strong advocates of London from their new locations, and continue to support the cluster as clients or suppliers.”
“It was challenging to condense all the views and insights into a report but we believe the final outcome is positive and enlightening. We hope all industry stakeholders take note of the points highlighted by our research. We believe there are some valuable insights relevant to attracting and retaining young international shipping talent in London and SPNL as an organization continues to grow and promote this vital sector for the future.” concluded Claudio Chiste, SPNL Chairman.
The project, a huge undertaking by SPNL and its many members, is set to run every two years, the next one earmarked to be linked to coincide with London International Shipping Week 2015.