How we’re putting London on the international maritime map

15 June 2016

Sean Moloney, Shipping Innvoation

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Inmarsat has once again put its belief in the important role that London plays in propelling world trade by becoming the headline sponsor of London International Shipping Week 2017 (LISW). And what an important decision that is when you consider how much global shipping relies on London as a major, if not the major international maritime centre that it is.

London’s prowess as a financial services centre is unrivalled; as is its position as a leader in the world of ship broking, law, classification, arbitration, insurance underwriting and broking, P&I, marine consulting, ship supply, banking, global maritime regulation through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the list goes on.

But if London is so important internationally, why has it taken so long for a maritime week to be held. And what is the catalyst to LISW’s rapid and phenomenal success in global shipping?  I guess it is about the right thing happening at the right time.

When I came up with the notion of an international shipping week four years ago, shipping was deep in the financial crisis. Banks had stopped lending, ship owners had all moved east, trade had slowed significantly, and pain was being felt across all sectors – from ship owning to ship supply. Everyone was struggling.

To say we received a frosty reception from the industry in the early days to the idea of a shipping week is something of an understatement. But we persevered and persuaded the powers to be that the industry would turn up in their droves because London was important enough and the networking opportunities would guarantee it. And the organisers of the first LISW in 2013 were proved right.

Five months before the inaugural event, the UK Government seized on the opportunity to really work with the industry to drive in success and come onboard, with representatives on the Steering Group as well as the Board of Advisors. It put its full weight behind what was a unique opportunity to showcase London and the UK, to the rest of the maritime world. And the rest as they say is history.

Inmarsat Maritime President Ronald Spithout joins the opening of LISW 2015 at the London Stock Exchange

Today LISW has quickly become the must attend event in global shipping and the quality bar will continue to be raised every time. Excellence and quality of the events and the subsequent networking is paramount and the Steering Group and Board of Advisors will not stop in their quest to make LISW the number one event in global shipping.

But what of LISW2017? Well early estimates suggest upwards of 150 events will be held (there were 85 events during the first LISW event in 2013), and there will be even more of an international flavour running throughout the week.

It is only sponsors and the international shipping industry associations (or supporting organisations) who are allowed to hold an event during the week, but already the Hong Kong Shipowners Associations (HKSOA) has come onboard because, after all, Hong Kong needs London like London needs Hong Kong.

We were also delighted to have the 2015 event formerly opened at 10 Downing Street and to receive Royal Patronage through Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The organisers will be working to secure the same for next year.

The hard work has already started and steering group meetings have been held but the success of such a massive venture could not be what it is without the support of companies like Inmarsat, and for that the LISW Steering Group, headed up by Baltic CEO Jeremy Penn, is exceedingly grateful.

About the author

Sean MaloneySean Moloney is Managing Director of Public Relations and Publishing specialists Elaborate Communications and is a Director of Shipping Innovation, a joint venture company between Elaborate and Petrospot Ltd. Shipping Innovation is the organiser of London International Shipping Week as well as European Shipping Week.

Sean has been in the maritime media for over 33 years; he was political editor of Lloyd’s List for many years as well as a publishing director at the Informa Group before he set up Elaborate Communications 13 years ago.

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