Oslo: A mix of geopolitics, regulatory pressure, innovation and business issues were discussed at the Nor-Shipping conference on Monday by a handful of owners and international political players, who discussed important issues for shipping now and in the near future.
Erik Barth Eide, former Norwegian defence minister and managing director of the World Economic Forum, pointed out that we are again living in a world where strategic alliances are increasingly important, drawing parallels with the time of the Cold War.
In the near past, after a period where states have been collapsing, we are now in a stage where strategic alliances are critical again, he said, however, this time cooperation is market-related.
If the conflict with Russia lasts, energy flows and investments flows will change, Eide said. This could also lead to Russia wanting to get closer to China. Eide did not, however, believe China wants this trade alliance as China would prefer to be a global player.
Eide, who was one of the more prominent speakers at the event, pointed also out the threat from cyber attacks is on the rise, a point with which Arnout Danker, managing director of Damen Shipyards agreed. Danker said he has had an increasing number of security requests when buildings ships.
Leon Patitas, CEO of Atlas Shipping, observed that OPEC was now competing with shale oil producers and not acting as a cartel and controlling crude prices. Globalisation expert Anil Gupta from the University of Maryland sees another important trend in increasing intra-Asia trade will be the size of India’s economy will be half of what China’s economy is today by 2025.
Gupta stressed that the Far East has taken over as the biggest importer of energy from the Middle East, creating a situation where oil producing countries in the Arabian Gulf now have a primary interest in Asian importers before those in the US and Europe.
Yngvil Åsheim, managing director of BW Gas, also noted that vessels’ ability to bypass the Malacca Strait is an important shift in global shipping patterns.