As we enter 2021 with wild abandon (and some regions are, regrettably, wilder than others) it is important not only to focus on our goals for the year, but also to celebrate our successes in 2020. These seem to have gotten lost in the overarching challenges of enforced change and swirling events.
Some of the most prominent that come to mind include:
- Successful implementation of IMO2020! Despite the voices of doom leading up to it, this regulation was a near triumph for the maritime industry. The notion that a GLOBAL industry could pivot to reduce sulphur emissions from 3.5% to .5% is an extraordinary achievement that required global coordination of all stakeholders. While there are still bunker quality issues to be addressed, as well as universal enforcement, this proved to the world that the industry is capable of change on a global basis.
- With the onset of COVID-19, all industries needed to pivot to remote working. While maritime certainly had the tools for this mode, it didn’t have the willingness until the pandemic struck. Perhaps it was out of necessity, but the past 10 months have demonstrated that remote working works! This is an important milestone for the industry, not the least of which is supporting its efforts towards diversity. At the very least, women who were prohibited from making meaningful contributions to the industry due to family responsibilities are now viewed as potential candidates for employment in our industry. Another benefit of 2020!
- Like many industries, COVID-19 has prompted the acceleration of digitalization. What might have taken 10 years to evolve has resulted in a compressed timeframe to achieve efficiencies (read savings) and increased transparency (read ESG) in a shorter timeframe. This will prove to be an important tool as we peer into the future and try to build our strategies.
- Virtual allows us to stay connected. While I think we can agree that in-person is preferred, our SHIPPINGInsight 20/20 demonstrated that we can gather on a global basis, disseminate ideas, exchange information and even have fun through virtual tools (in case you missed our Celebrity Karaoke and our Stand Up Comedy nights, go to https://www.shippinginsight.com/2020-highlights/ and check it out!!!). It also means that events going forward will be expected to offer a hybrid model so we can have the best of all worlds!
So, despite the challenges of 2020, and even the rocky start to 2021, let’s not lose sight of our wins!
Carleen Lyden Walker
Chief Evolution Officer