Shipping is in urgent need of a “global detox” delgates attending the opening session of Nor-Shipping in Oslo were told this morning. To a packed audience which included Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Sturla Henriksen, the CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, took to the stage and listed many of shipping’s current ailments as well as some possible cures.
Henriksen said that a “toxic” combination of sluggish economic growth and growing protectionism presented shipping with unique challenges. He cited Brexit, Trump’s America first policies, and China becoming more regional as issues the industry needed to handle.
“On the upside,” he said, “we have more demographic changes from the west to the east, automation and big data, which is fundamentally changing how the business works.”
The shipowner boss then stressed: “We are in need of a global detox. “If you want to establish a sustainable environment you need a sustainable industry.”
Moderating the opening session was renowned author and international relations expert Parag Khanna who told delegates of how demographics were shifting, especially across the Eurasian landmass.
“We are building a new skeleton of infrastructure,” Khanna, a regular contributor on CNN, said. “We are seeing more connections between countries and we are seeing more and more mega cites with clusters of cities accounting for 70 to 80m people.”
The challenge, Khanna said, would be connecting these new city clusters.
Splash will be reporting from Nor-Shipping all week. Our full archive of stories from the year’s most prestigious maritime event can be accessed here.
[Photo: Lena Göthberg, Shipping Podcast]