Shipping is increasingly pushed into the defensive corner when considering environmental challenges. Industry should urgently devise a strategy to overcome this unfortunate situation, advocating the positive efforts shipowners are making to raise the sustainability of their operations. This is the key message ECSA President Juan Riva gave today when introducing the latest Annual Report of the organisation, which covers the 2012-2013 period. The publication of the report coincides with some changes to ECSA's communication tools.
"There was a time when EU policy-makers clearly regarded shipping as a solution", said Mr Riva, "The 'road to sea' campaign of the early 1990s for instance favoured short sea shipping as an environmental-friendly alternative to road transport. At that time we were on top of the sustainability debate and shipping enjoyed considerable support from EU policy makers, which translated itself positively in many fields of policy."
This situation contrasts greatly with the present day. "Whether we talk about the various types of ship emissions, ship recycling, ballast water or any other environmental matter, as shipowners we always seem to be pushed into the defensive corner." added the ECSA President, "I think we urgently should consider a strategy to overcome this situation, to validate the considerable efforts many of our members are making to perform their operations as sustainably as possible."
"We need to provide an adequate, collective answer to the environmental challenge", said ECSA's Secretary General Patrick Verhoeven, "At the same time, we need to emphasise much more how essential shipping is to trade, welfare and peace. That is why we need a strong and united lobby, both at EU and at international level, which strives for the best possible solutions. In this respect, we should not be afraid of showing some ambition. That is the only way in which we can be a credible partner for policy-makers and ngo's, regardless whether they are in Brussels, in London, or in the various capitals."
The publication of the ECSA Annual Report coincides with some changes to the organisation's communication tools. The website has been revamped and extended with a news function. "Like the tide that comes and goes, we will bring regular news from Brussels on relevant EU developments and ECSA viewpoints", said Patrick Verhoeven, "We want to report to a broad audience, consisting not only of members, but including also the wider shipping community and maritime cluster, policy-makers and, of course, media. The various news features of each month will furthermore be brought together in a newsletter, so that readers have a handy overview of what went on that month." Subscribing to ECSA news is possible via the website. In addition, exploring the possibilities of social media, ECSA's Secretary General can also be followed on Twitter. ECSA members will be able to continue relying on the internal system of circulars, which provides more detailed information and analysis.
Tonight, ECSA will host in Brussels a farewel reception for Alfons Guinier, who retired as Secretary General of the organisation on 1 September, after having served the organisation for more than 22 years. ECSA news will report on that event on Monday 16.09.2013.
Download our new Annual Report