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International Chamber of Shipping: ‘Influence from inside’

Esben Poulsson’s bags are packed and today he’s off to Panama for the weekend’s momentous opening of the expanded canal. In Panama he may well pick up a hat – although he has many already.

The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) elected Poulsson as its new chairman at the start of the month.

As well as the Danish national’s commitments to the ICS, he is president of president of the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), and also is on the board of the Singapore Maritime Foundation, Epic Shipping, AVRA International and Straits Tankers. The former Torm man is also chairman of Enesel Pte Ltd, a Singapore management subsidiary of Athens-based boxship operator Enesel.

With his ICS hat on, Poulsson is not hanging around, determined to lobby hard for shipowners on three key issues – CO2, ballast water management and sulphur.

The veteran shipowner tells Maritime CEO he is a “new boy” when it comes to his new ICS role. The secretariat has been busy bringing Poulsson up to speed with the reams of regulations that are hovering over the industry.

“Our stated priority is CO2, ballast water management and sulphur,” he tells Maritime CEO in an exclusive interview. “They are each big issues and very complicated. What we at ICS can do is to try to move these agendas on so that there is clarity on what to do.”

Too much impending regulation remains unclear, he warns, especially ballast water management rulings coming out of the US.

On CO2, Poulsson is worried. “The EU is running at a different pace to IMO,” he says, adding: “We are trying to avoid unilateral regulations from regions.”

Poulsson reckons that if no solution for CO2 comes about soon, a market-based system will likely be introduced, which is not something ICS favours.

“Shipping is generally a responsible industry but given current market conditions the last thing we need are three major issues on which we are awaiting decisions,” Poulsson says, adding that ICS’s credibility within IMO should allow it to influence regulations.

And talking of influence, the European who has lived in Asia for the last three decades, has his own personal view on today’s biggest news – the UK referendum on whether to stay in the EU. “Stay within is best,” he advises. “Influence from inside.”

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