INTERCARGO Meetings Address Key Industry Issues

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INTERCARGO rana series of key meetings virtually on 8-9October. Its Annual General Meeting, Executive Committee meeting and Technical Committee meetingwere held via videoconference.At these important events INTERCARGO  re-iterated  its  commitment  to  a  safe,  efficient,  high  quality  and  environmentally sound dry bulk shipping industry. The meetingswere presided over by Chairman Dimitrios J. Fafalios, Vice Chairman Jay K Pillai, Vice Chairman Spyros Tarasis, and Technical Committee Chairman Tom Keenan.

High on INTERCARGO’s agenda werethe  need  to  address  the humanitarian  crisis surrounding crew changes;safe carriage  of cargoes;the investigation  of bulk carrier casualties;challenges  to  the International Maritime Organizations’ greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals and concern  on  regional regulationandthecontinual improvement of operational excellence indry bulk shipping.

At the meetings,the Membership debated the impact of important industry issues:

COVID-19impact: This year has been marked by the impact of the coronavirus and the unprecedented disruption  it  has  caused,  threatening  to  compromise  global health, commerce,and  economic  growth.Unfortunately, the humanitarian crisis caused by the difficulties of crew change is ongoing. An estimated one  thirdof  all seafarers on  board are  stranded  at  sea awaiting  their  relief, despite  repeated  pleas  to governments from the United Nations (UN)/IMO and industry associations’ calling for urgent assistance in facilitating crew change. INTERCARGO would urge leaders of governments along with their health and immigration authorities to recognise seafarers’ efforts and formally designate seafarers and other marine personnel as key workersand facilitate crew change at all ports, irrespective of their nationality.

Dimitrios Fafalios, Chairman of INTERCARGO said: “COVID-19has rocked the nations of the world and led to  deep,  soul-searching  questions  being  posed  to  governments,  economies  and  shipping  itself.The resultant prohibition of sign-on and sign-off of our most important asset, our seafarers, has become the primary obstacle for a quality bulk carrier ship owner or operator to overcome.”

Despite international efforts it is estimated that as many as 400,000 seafarers, who are truly key workers in world trade, remainedtrapped on board their vessels as of September 2020.

“INTERCARGO members have been at the forefront of the efforts to return our seafarers home to their families and replace them with qualified, healthy crew,” added Fafalios. “Our members have assured us that these efforts will not cease.

“Dry bulk carriers remain the workhorses of international shipping serving essential needs, such as food, raw materials and energy supply. This has been amply demonstrated during these difficult times.”

2020Sulphur legislation  implementation: Dimitrios Fafalios  commented:“January  ushered  in  the widespread, but not worldwide, availability of Low Sulphur Fuel Oil for ships’ bunkers. INTERCARGO joined with other international shipping organisations in assisting our industry to make this challenging transition successfully, focusing on the issues of safety, quality and availability as primary concerns for operators in the dry bulk sector.

“To support this transition, INTERCARGO has worked alongside the Roundtable Organisationsto develop and implement a detailed survey aimed at evaluating the introduction of the new fuels. Despite the survey being  overshadowed  by  worldwide  events,  the  results  indicated  that  quality  and  safety  problems  will continue to be a challenge for the global shipping industry. A follow-up on this research is planned in the next few months.”

Greenhouse gas emissions: While shipping is the most environmentally friendly transport mode, and the dry bulk sector especially takes pride in that respect, thefurther reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from ships is the greatest environmental challenge ahead of the sector. INTERCARGO strongly supports the initial strategy and roadmap developed by IMO.

However, global challenges require global solutions.The IMO is expected to deliver a level playing field both geographically and across industry sectors. Time and time  again regional regulations have  proven ineffective, as they create distortions and multi-tier markets, and indeed, even trade tensions.

Quality & Operational Excellence of INTERCARGO Members: INTERCARGO offers a Quality Badge widely recognised by the industry and members’ vessels continue to outperform industry averages in respect of both detentions and deficiencies per inspection.

The drybulk sector quality self-assessment scheme  developed by INTERCARGOis a risk-based, tailored  self-assessment  scheme  specifically  for  the  dry  bulk  sector,which  concentrates  on  shore  management and can be effectively utilised irrespective of the size of acompany.Recognising  that  the  sector  would  not  welcome  multiple  separate  schemes  with  the  associated  duplications,  INTERCARGO  is  aiming  at    a    single    scheme    which    will    enjoy    industry-wide    support,    embrace    best    practices    and    keyperformance  indicators,  and  raise  the  bar  on  safety,  environmental and operational excellence. To this direction, INTERCARGO is engagingwith other industry organisations to explore synergies and achieve collaboration.

Annual Review for 2019/2020: INTERCARGO’s Annual Review is available here1. Following a doubling of the Association’s membership during 2016-2019, 2019-2020 has seen a membership stabilised at historic high levels,encompassing companies from across 30 different countries. The latest count comprised 143 Full Members, as well as 80 Associate Members.

Secretary General Dr Kostas G. Gkonis said “Dry bulk shipping is necessary for maintaining and enhancing living standards in both developed and less-developed economies. At INTERCARGO we are proud that our sector is achieving environmental and operational excellence and that it contributes substantially towards meeting the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

Elections:  Current  Vice-Chairman  CaptainJay  K  Pillai  of  Pacific  Basin  Shipping  (HK)  Ltd  will  be  stepping down on 31 December 2020 after completing the maximum term of 6 years in the position. CaptainUttam Kumar Jaiswal, from the same company,was elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Association to replace him from 1st January 2021.

INTERCARGO will hold its next semi-annual meetings in March 2021.



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The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
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