ICS chairman Esben Poulsson impressed with Swedish inventiveness

This week Esben Poulsson, the newly elected chairman of ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping, representing 80% of the world merchant fleet, visited Sweden and the Swedish Shipowners' Association. We at Lighthouse took the opportunity to talk to Esben Poulsson about the important IMO MEPC-meeting coming up, about Swedish inventiveness and the future of shipping.

During 24.28 October 2016 IMO:s long awaited MEPC-meeting (Marine Environment Protection Committee) will be held at the IMO headquarters in London. The topics that will be discussed are many and some of the highlights are:

  • Adoption of mandatory data collection system for fuel consumption
  • Energy efficiency of international shipping
  • Reduction of GHG emissions from ships
  • Global sulphur cap implementation date to be considered

Esben Poulsson, chairman of ICS, the International Chamber of Shipping who represents 80% of the world merchant fleet says they want answers and directions.

- The IMO-meeting, MEPC 70 is hugely important. IVCS have really tried with all involved to try and pled for IMO to reach decisions on some key issues. One is the low sulphur cap, where the debate is whether it will apply in 2020 or 2025. ICS does not take a stance, when it should be, all we say is, please just tell us when it should be, and we will work accordingly.

Esben Poulsson was elected as chairman of ICS this summer and want to visit as many of the member organisations as possible. The Swedish Shipowners' Association is one of the members and during his visit to Sweden he went to the island Donsö, home of several shipping companies and became impressed by the inventiveness in the Swedish shipping industry.

- I've heard how far Sweden has come with LNG as a source of propulsion for ships, I understand that Stena got one vessel operating on methanol and to see this and see the general breakthrough in designs on RoRo-ships and RoPax or ferries, this is very high-end stuff. A lot of these ideas and a lot of these concepts will influence the future, internationally. It's almost like a test bed for these things and that's a great thing. If you're at the front of innovation you have a competitive advantage right there and Sweden is right at the top of the rankings in this regard.

Ebsen Pulsson sees a bright future for shipping, but he is concerned about protectionism and barriers against free trade.

- That's a very bad thing, not just for shipping but for the world economy. I hope very much that this sentiment against free trade doesn't catch on to widely. But that aside, I would say that shippings future with all the incredible innovation is bright. Shipping has traditionally been a conservative industry, but I feel now that there is a wave coming that is really going to change things. It's very exciting.