With every passing day, the gap between shipping’s goals and those of the public are shrinking. With the grounding (and release last week) of the Ever Given, the public’s understanding of its relationship with shipping increased. Shippers, too, are contributing to that understanding as they work to align themselves with emission reductions shipping (see below–I am proud to carry my Longchamps handbag and hope this is more than a public relations stunt!).
In November, with COP26 being held in Glasgow, shipping will be front and center as the world looks for solutions and agreements to mitigate climate change. Until now, shipping has been exempted from global reduction agreements as we have been allowed to self-regulate. We will be judged then as to our effectiveness at doing so, and will need to demonstrate our commitment and strategies.
We cannot lose focus, though, on the business of shipping which is not receiving high marks these days. In an effort to better manage its supply chain, Home Depot has joined other retailers in chartering its own ship. Amazon and Alibaba, two logistics giants, are now in the waterborne shipping business. The United States government is beginning to investigate shipping and its practices. It is essential that we provide the most efficient service across every aspect of our activities—we cannot just fall back to the physics of mass and bulk justifying our existence.
As our industry gets higher on the public’s radar, let’s ensure that the business it sees is one that commands respect. I suppose it would be asking too much for gratitude…