(TOKYO) — The annual general meeting of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) elected a new chairman, Esben Poulsson of Singapore, on Thursday.
ICS is the principal international trade association for shipowners, with a membership comprising national shipowners’ associations from 37 countries representing all sectors and trades and over 80 percent of the world merchant fleet.
Poulsson has been elected to succeed Masamichi Morooka of Japan, who has decided to stand down after four years in office. Being at the helm of the industry’s most influential international trade association, Poulsson will serve as a leading representative of the global shipping industry, overseeing its liaison with its regulators such as the International Maritime Organization and the International Labour Organization.
Speaking after his unanimous election, Poulsson said, “I am very honored to have been elected by the ICS member national shipowner associations. Being chairman is a big responsibility and my primary task will be to ensure that ICS continues to represent the considered views of the entire industry. This means reflecting and reconciling the opinions of different ship types and trades, different national viewpoints, and the interests of shipping companies big and small.
“Within ICS there are two major challenges on which we really need to focus this year. The first is working with IMO member states to make further progress addressing international shipping’s CO2 emissions, including our proposal that IMO should develop an ‘Intended IMO Determined Contribution’ for reducing the sector’s CO2, similar to the commitments already made by governments as part of the Paris Agreement.
“But even more pressing from an industry perspective is making sure we are ready for the almost certain entry in force of the IMO Ballast Water Convention, and engaging with governments, especially the United States, to overcome some remaining but really serious implementation problems.
“More generally, ICS will continue to fight for the maintenance of global rules for our global industry, and continuous improvement with respect to our safety record and environmental performance. I especially want to build on ICS efforts to gain greater recognition of what the industry has already achieved and its critical role in the sustainable development of the world economy and the improvement of global living standards.
“I was fortunate enough to lead the strategic review which ICS conducted last year and this made me very aware of the enormous scope of activity in which ICS is engaged. This ranges from representation on policy and operational matters, as well as maritime law and employment affairs, to the production of best practice guidance and technical publications that are relied upon by shipping companies and seafarers worldwide.
“In addition to liaising with governments, this also means maintaining good relations with a large number of international institutions that impact upon the interests of shipowners. As the new ICS chairman, working with our secretary-general, Peter Hinchliffe, I look forward to addressing these challenges.”
Poulsson will be supported in his new role by four ICS vice chairmen: John C. Lyras of Greece, Karin Orsel of the Netherlands, Mark Martecchini of Liberia, and Gerardo Borromeo of the Philippines.