This is my first article as the Chairman of IBIA, and it is written under some very different circumstances than I had expected
As most of you are, I am also affected by the present worldwide coronavirus pandemic, and have been working from my home since mid-March. I have therefore been forced to change to online sessions and virtual meetings.
The impact of the coronavirus on our industry has been, and will be, significant. We are yet to experience the long-term consequences and many questions are being discussed at present, however, without any clear answers.
Will we see major changes in trade routes? When will we be back to the same level as we were before the pandemic?
Will we ever get back to the same or will this change our view on worldwide transport and local sourcing permanently?
The truth is that we do not at present have those answers. We will have to wait and see, but the financial and economic impacts that the aftermath will bring are expected to be one of the largest challenges that our generation will face.
Our industry is based around seaborne transport and especially the fuel that enables goods and vessels to move around the world. Many of our members in IBIA have already felt the financial impact of slowdown in transport requirements and consequently a drop in bunker demand.
Perhaps it is time to remember that not that long ago, we did successfully manage the IMO 2020 transition to new and environmentally better fuels; a success that many of us already have forgotten in the present mess. But the success of the IMO 2020 fuel switch is perhaps also one of our main keys to overcoming the present coronavirus crisis and successfully embark on the other side as an industry.
The IMO 2020 challenge did show us that when we start working together across many different sectors and companies within our bunker industry, we can take on even large and complex challenges like the transition to the 0.50% sulphur limit globally.
It might today seem like it was easy compared to the present coronavirus crisis, but remember: when the 2020 sulphur limit was originally agreed upon, we as an industry were not able at that time to give the solution on how to solve it, but together we managed to do it and with great success.
Therefore, we need already now to start planning for the future, despite the fact that we are still fighting with both the corona virus and the many long-lasting consequences it will bring for us to deal with.
IBIA can be and will continue to be the platform where the stakeholders of our industry are able to meet each other and exchange views and co-develop the solutions required for the future.
During my first Chairman’s speech at the IBIA Annual Dinner in February 2020, I shared the vision set by the board of IBIA for three areas that IBIA will focus on. Despite the fact that implementing our plans may now require more time, they are unchanged and the work has already commenced.
The first area of focus is the development of IBIA as an organisation.
In 2020, we will start the transformation to make IBIA truly INTERNATIONAL by introducing and implementing a new board structure that will consist of 5 Regional Boards and a Global Board.
Each of the Regional Boards will be empowered and work with a local mandate to act and manage on behalf of IBIA’s and the members’ interests locally.
Secondly, we have seen that Singapore has taken the lead on implementing a bunker licensing scheme and mandatory mass flow meters. Now, the ports in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp region have announced their ambition to follow their lead.
IBIA has an ambition to work on uniting the 10 most important bunker areas worldwide under a similar bunker licensing scheme, including mass flow meters, and that work has already begun.
Last, but not least, IBIA will actively start working with partners in and around our industry towards the IMO’s ambition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% by 2050.
IBIA only exists because of your memberships, and IBIA can only fulfil our role of gathering, educating and leading the industry in the challenges ahead, if we continue to have a strong and diverse membership platform.
I therefore ask you all to ensure to both renew your membership with IBIA and to actively promote our organisation to your networks.
IBIA can only be as strong as the members it represents, and with the uncertain future we are facing, a strong organisation is more important than ever before.
THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT FOR IBIA.