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The silver lining that can shine on the five pillars of maritime growth

Angelica Kemene, CEO of Optima-X, writes for Splash today on the urgent need for maritime collaboration to overcome the coronavirus crisis.

The impact of the societal response to the Covid-19 threat risks having damaging impacts on all aspects of our economies.

While the threat to the elderly and those with existing underlying conditions should not be downplayed, the sweeping curfews, travel bans and limitations to freedoms, as we seek to slow the spread of the virus to allow health systems to handle cases, will threaten our very livelihoods.

This period of isolation, the lack of physical meetings and the home working has been made possible by the digital transformation of society. We have faster broadband speeds, digital programmes and cloud systems, as well as a plethora of online meeting and webinar apps at our disposal. We have shown ourselves the potential of digitalisation and connectivity in our hours of need.

Meanwhile we hear of reports that this period of restraint has already had positive impacts on pollution and emissions. As the expression goes, every cloud has a silver lining.

We hold it to ourselves to continue our efforts to create sustainable business practices, push further with innovation and create a dynamic future for ourselves.

This is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the vitality and strength of innovation in world trade, to show that the silver lining we see in the impact of the coronavirus response can be developed into a bright light of opportunity.

This response is likely to have a lengthy impact on shipping and our industries, and will thus influence investment and collaboration, but it does not mean it has to stop.

This is the time for innovators to think strong, and think together, it is the time to work together more collaboratively to realise the potential that will come out of this testing time of difficulty.

Shipping and maritime clusters around the world have already shown the strength in collaborative thinking and looking for synergies, we need all our clusters to think positively and dynamically.

A successful cluster is made up of five pillars: the established industrial businesses that drive industry, the funds and finance houses that can support and benefit from dynamic growth, academia which supports innovative thinking and next-generation development, government institutions that create the framework conditions for innovation and growth and the entrepreneurial companies and individuals that think outside the box and have the agility to seize opportunities.

These five pillars need to listen, discuss and find out how they can support each other under a new (post covid-19) normal.

As an accelerator and developer of dynamic hubs in traditional markets we have seen how these five pillars have worked successfully in the past, but the time to talk needs to become the time for solid action. We need each pillar to connect constructively with each of the other four and ensure the conditions remain sound and capable of growth. Only this way can we turn the silver lining into a bright light of opportunity.

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