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Peak awards? Time to break out the champagne

Consolidation in shipping tends to get a mixed reaction. The smaller guys say they’re just as competitive – and often more nimble – than their bigger rivals, while the largest names in the business regularly preach the economies of scale argument.

Regardless, some consolidation ought to be celebrated. News this week that two of shipping’s most repetitive purveyors of regional awards schemes are joining forces was greeted with some socially distanced fist bumping here at Splash Towers.

The two brands – who have been in the same media group for a number of years now – together dish out more than 100 gongs a year.

Awards ceremonies have proliferated this century as traditional print advertising died and old media business models were disrupted. In total, shipping now has more than 100 awards competitions created by media companies, many with scant regard for due process.

As with so much of the business events business, Covid has decimated awards’ biggest attraction – networking. Moreover, looking ahead it’s clear from listening to shipping CEOs’ budget plans post-pandemic, spending on frivolities like awards are increasingly out the window.

Does this week’s combining of two of the more bloated awards jamborees herald the moment we’ve reached peak awards? The Freaky Wave and I have got the champagne on ice to celebrate.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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