This year’s The Maritime Standard (TMS) Tanker Conference, held at The Atlantis, the Palm, Dubai, reached a new attendance record. The one-day event, which took place on Tuesday 22nd October, attracted close to 300 delegates, the highest yet.
Trevor Pereira, Managing Director, was clearly delighted. He said, “The fact that so many people took time out from their busy schedules to attend shows that this conference is a much needed opportunity for tanker industry professionals to meet with their peers and discuss and debate key issues. The big rise in delegate numbers shows the topics that we selected for the agenda were relevant were the things that people wanted to come and talk about.”
This year the theme of the Conference was Opening up New Horizons, reflecting an underlying sense of optimism within this sector. Clive Woodbridge, Conference Editor, says. “This is a time of considerable volatility and uncertainty within the tanker shipping business, but the mood is defiantly upbeat. Despite well documented challenges, there are significant opportunities that are ready to be seized as well, and that mood came across clearly in many presentations.”
The main keynote address was given by the Director General, Federal Transport Authority – Land and Maritime, H.E. Eng. Ahmed M. Shareef Alkhoori. He said, “We are committed to supporting tanker shipping in all aspects, operationally, commercially and of course from a safety and security perspective. The tanker shipping business is vital to the economic wellbeing of this region and we have to protect and nurture it through challenging times.”
He continued, “As many of you know we are at an advanced stage of reviewing and revising the UAE Maritime Law. This is an important process and one which we hope to bring to a conclusion in the near future. I believe the changes being proposed will be highly beneficial to the tanker business generally and to those owners based in the region especially. Our aim is to provide a framework to allow more owners of tankers, of various types and sizes, to consider the UAE flag.”
Other keynote addresses were given by Abdulkareem Al Masabi, CEO of ADNOC Logistics & Services; Ali Shehab, CEO of Kuwait Oil Tanker Conference; and Abdullah Bin Damithan, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World, UAE Region. They all helped set the scene by providing a strategic analysis of current market trends.
The opening session then assessed the best strategies for capitalising on fast changing market conditions. The audience heard from influential and well respected authorities on the shipping industry, including Matthieu De Tugny, Executive Vice-President, Marine and Offshore, Bureau Veritas; Michael Jorgenson, acting CEO, Oman Shipping Company; Petros Doukas, Former Deputy Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs, Greece; Jesper Kjaedegaard, Senior Advisor and Board Member, Marcura Group; and Capt. Anoop Kumar Sharma, until recently Chairman and Managing Director of The Shipping Corporation of India.
Other speakers who made a big impact in the second session, discussing how to best adapt support infrastructure and support services to ensure market success, included Anders Østergaard, CEO, Monjasa; Mathew James Plumtree, Director, Offshore and Engineering, Drydocks World Dubai ; Capt. Mohamed Al Ali, Senior Vice President, Ship Management, ADNOC L&S; Rajiv Agarwal, CEO and Managing Director, Essar Ports; Haitham Al Taie, General Manager, Finance and Corporate Support, Oman Drydock Company; and Eng. Waleed Altamimi, General Manager, Tasneef.
The tanker industry faces a host of technical, legal and regulatory challenges at present and the topicality of these issues ensured delegates remained in their seats right to the end Speakers in this session included Nijoe Joseph, Partner, Stephenson Harwood; Pawan Sahani, Business Development Director, Middle East & Africa, DNV GL; Rashid Isa Rishi Al Heddi, Group Managing Director, Seamaster Maritime; Kirsty Cattanach, Senior Associate, Baker McKenzie Habib Al Mulla; and Capt. Zarir Irani, President, International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS).
Clive Woodbridge concluded, “This was the best Tanker Conference yet in terms of delegate numbers and speaker quality. We have received a lot of positive feedback already, with delegates saying that they appreciated the programme and the effort made by our speakers and panellists. Of course, the Conference is a chance to exchange ideas and learn about current and future developments, but it is also a great meeting place for senior figures within the tanker industry. I know from talking to people that everyone appreciated the networking opportunities and we are pleased to be able to facilitate high level connections within the industry.”