Dear members, dear BIMCO community
Firstly, I hope you, your family, your colleagues, and your seafarers are well despite the disruptions and challenges that the pandemic continues to throw our way. At this time last year, I believe we had all hoped to look back at COVID-19 as a thing of the past one year on. While this is unfortunately not yet the case, we can look back at 2021 and take pride in the fact that once again, our industry has continued to keep the world supplied despite lock downs. Despite the pandemic.
This year, shipping became visible. 2021 was the year that a cartoon of a containership was on cover of The New Yorker in its December issue, as the world outside shipping realised that if links in the global supply chain are weakened or blocked, world trade is threatened.
When I took over as BIMCO President seven months ago, I pledged that we would continue to work towards helping our industry grow its voice and visibility. I believe we are well on the way. This year, we launched three films to help raise that awareness. “Ships Make the World Go”, “Seafarers Deserve Support” and “No Turning Back” all took an honest look at our industry; the crucial role we play, the plight for fair treatment of our seafarers and the urgent need to decarbonise.
Another important way of using our voice is participating in panel discussions and conferences world-wide. Virtually and in person, we have helped shape the agenda. At the London International Shipping Week, we discussed how shipping can help drive positive social change in a sustainable way. At the Economist’s Insight Hour in Hong Kong, we spoke about solutions to the supply chain problems, and at the World Ocean Summit we examined our commitment to decarbonise.
At COP26 in Glasgow, we launched and screened “No Turning Back” and co-organised a side event about how biofouling management can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And last week, we joined the World Shipping Council, International Transport Workers’ Federation and InterManager in examining the progress made so far and what remains to be done to suppress piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
We are slowly gaining the attention of the world and entering 2022, we have an extraordinary opportunity to raise the voice of shipping even more. We must continue to call on decision makers to solve the crew change crisis and to help us decarbonise by making the right regulatory decisions. We must also make renewed calls for the international community to help support the mission to eradicate piracy in the Gulf of Guinea.
In the meantime, we will continue to support and stand by our members, preparing for change. This year, we developed the EEXI clause to address the new carbon emissions regulations from the IMO and we are working on clauses for emissions trading systems (ETS) and the carbon intensity indicator (CII). Additionally, the Documentary Committee approved a new standard contract for security escort vessels and updated the Infectious or Contagious Diseases Clauses to address pandemics.
We look forward to entering 2022 because we have an important agenda. We will continue to call for key worker status for our seafarers, work to eradicate piracy, help shape our industry’s decarbonisation agenda and prepare our members for change.
Like our latest film “No Turning Back” states: There is lots being done. And there is still so much more to do.
I wish you and your loved ones all the best and a safe 2022.
Sabrina Chao, BIMCO President