Over 200 key players from the Greek and international shipping community came together for the WISTA Hellas 2019 Annual Forum at Athens’ Hilton Hotel on 5th November, which featured a lively panel discussion on how the changing environment of shipping, may affect its future’s operational procedures.
“International sanctions are a very sensitive issue that shipping related companies have to comply with,” WISTA Hellas President Angie Hartmann said in her opening address. “Shipping companies should implement and cope with new technological features in their daily operations, too”.
Opening remarks via video were made by Ioannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Shipping & Island Policy.
Followed by Leonidas-Dimitriades-Eugenides, IMO Ambassador and President of the Eugenides Foundation, who addressed a keynote speech. He stressed the important role women play in the shipping industry. He further highlighted the necessity for shipping companies to comply with the international sanctions, new regulations and expanded technology.
“Operating in a World of Sanctions”, moderated by Electra Panayotopoulos, Partner, Holman Fenwick Willan (HFW), was the first of two panel discussions at the forum. The panel was (in alphabetical order): Alfred Hartmann, President of the German Shipowners’ Association; Pia Han Lindberg, Group Compliance Manager, GAC Dubai; Panagiotis Kounoupas, Marine Underwriting Manager, Blue Aigaion Insurance Solutions; Hamish Norton, President, Star Bulk Carriers Corp.; Paillette Palaiologou, Vice President Marine & Offshore HBSA Zone, Bureau Veritas. During the panel discussion several views were presented. All speakers though have agreed that “strong and compliant program has to be in place, in order to cope with the international sanctions’; the challenge that shipping companies have to face is “How to manage the risk that arises from a sanction & make sure that there is no violation of same”; all “have to be detailed, yet flexible”.
The second discussion tackled the issue “The Digital Transformation of the Shipping Industry – Adopting to a Digital Culture” under the moderation of Theano Kalapotharakou, Journalist, ELNAVI Shipping Magazine. The panel was (in alphabetical order): Semiramis Assimakopoulou, VP of Sales and Chartering Officer, Signal Maritime; Vassilis Dimoulas, Technology & Innovation Manager for Greece, Cyprus & Malta, Bureau Veritas; Tamara de Gruyter, Vice President Marine, Europe & Africa Area, Wärtsilä; Dr. Anna-Maria Kypraiou, Chemical Engineer, Lecturer in Engineering at Churchill College (University of Cambridge), Marine Energy Efficiency and Optimization Consultant; Dr. Fotis Papageorgiou, General Manager, Metropolitan College, Maritime Academy; Navneet Singh Rainu, Business Head for Digital Control Room, Tototheo Maritime. “Shipping industry cannot easily adopt technology, which is already there from other industries”; “We have to improve the image of our industry, in order to attract more people”; “ various levels of autonomy exist ; we have to alter the jobs, instead of eliminating them”; “the risk comes, when you over rely on technology”.
Follow-up dialogues by representatives from major market sectors added further to the success of the event leading to an open and impulsive discussion that kept the audience focused till the very end.
Closing the forum, Mrs. Hartmann, on behalf of the BoD of WISTA Hellas, thanked the panelists, sponsors, media supporters, supporting organizations and the audience for a constructive and successful event, and invited everyone to the cocktail reception which lasted well into the evening.