Paolo d’Amico, head of d’Amico Società di Navigazione group, has added a couple more titles to his impressive resume in recent weeks, taking the reins at Milan-listed d’Amico International Shipping and becoming chairman of the International Association of Independent Tanker Owners (Intertanko) at a crucial time for the sector.
D’Amico admits tanker owners continue to face uneasy times, the long awaited recovery has yet to consolidate and so many companies remain under pressure.
“We have to add the restrictions on international trades that do not simplify the scenario,” the Italian owner adds.
“At an industry level, the entry into force of the IMO 2020 sulphur cap regulation is now approaching and as a result the shipowning sector is gearing up to be compliant and, in some cases, to anticipate the dynamics of demand and supply that will inevitably be created. It is still not clear, for example, what kind of fuels will be available and in which part of the world. We expect a moment of initial ferment that, if on the one hand can lead to some inefficiency and a bit of confusion, on the other hand it can create some interesting opportunities for operators, thanks to an increase in refining activities and a greater recourse to sea transport,” d’Amico predicts.
Even if it is probably one of the more tricky times to head up Intertanko, d’Amico highlights that his main objective as chairman of the association is to ensure his members maintain high standards.
“My commitment will be to correctly represent the interests of our more than 200 members, asking them to never give up quality, respect for standards and attention to the environment,” d’Amico declares.
Looking at tanker market trends, d’Amico reckons the worst may be over.
“There are a few signs coming from the market,” he says, “especially if you have a look at the crude oil rates, which historically are the precursors of the refined products trend.”
Commenting on how much of a disruption to the tanker markets the sulphur cap from January 1 2020 may be, the new head of Intertanko believes that “there will be an extremely confused starting moment, but I believe that the market will find a balance within a couple of years”. He adds: “At the beginning the cost of bunkers will increase, as we do not know how much 0.5% will be available and in which ports. However, all this should find an equilibrium in a couple of years.”
Closing with a comment on the health of compatriot shipowners, the seasoned Italian owner says: “The Italian shipping community has been hit the same way as all the shipping industry worldwide and usually in this kind of situations there are unfortunately old ones who disappear, but thankfully also new names that appear.”