From the Co-Chairs, April 2021

Thursday 29 April 2021

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Corina Song
Allen & Gledhill, Singapore

Johannes Grove Nielsen
Bech-Bruun, Copenhagen

It is now about ten weeks since we assumed our positions as Committee Co-Chairs. Together with our team of senior officers, we have been busy on a number of projects, including the online webinar on 5 May 2021, which will be made available to all members without a registration fee. The webinar is entitled ‘ESG in shipping: “Greenwashing” or are challenges being met?’ We also hope to be able to share news of future projects during the course of the year.

As mentioned in our New Year message, we did indeed all witness a rather rocky start to the new decade but hopefully, all of that will soon be behind us. Vaccination programmes have been rolled out in several, if not all countries. Whilst the mammoth task of vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly as possible, has been a challenge for many governments, we can only hope that humanity and common sense will eventually prevail over bureaucracy and profit so that life can return to ‘normal’ sooner rather than later.

Once again, our thanks go out to Godofredo and Richard for having led this Committee over the last two years, during which, we participated in our first ever virtual conference in November 2020 and experienced online networking which was a first for many. We would also like to thank all retiring officers, who have completed their two-year term of service, for their time and contribution. There are too many to mention individually. Many worked behind the scenes, especially when there was an event.

We are fortunate and pleased that both Godofredo and Richard have assumed the new role of Immediate Past Chairs with effect from 1 January 2021. We will therefore continue to benefit from their experience and wisdom, and also that of our new Advisory Board comprising our last six Chairs and Co-Chairs, all of whom remain an integral part of the Committee.

Earlier in the year, we had mentioned a mid-term Spring conference in Singapore which we had been planning for 17-19 May 2021. Unfortunately, our plans were once again derailed. We have been informed by the IBA that as it now stands, all large scale in-person conferences will not resume until 2022. This has also affected the much awaited Paris Annual Conference 2021 which has now been postponed to 2023, to follow after the Miami Annual Conference of 2022.

In light of the continuing pandemic, we had to review our options. It is important for us to stay in contact and to keep abreast of developments in the shipping world. Together with our senior officers, we have therefore organised a mini virtual conference for 6 May 2021. It is ‘mini’ as we will only be aiming for one session, followed by virtual networking on a similar platform as in the November 2020 virtual conference.

As for the Singapore Spring conference, we have decided to move this to Q2 2022. Going forward, the Spring conferences will thereafter be held in the second year of the term for each incoming chair or co-chairs. We believe this would be helpful for future incoming chair(s) as they would have at least 12 to 15 months to plan the event. The Singapore Spring conference 2022 will therefore be the next occasion when we will all meet again.

During our term, we also hope to increase not only the Committee’s membership but also encourage more active participation from all members, old and new. In this regard, we would encourage each of you to submit articles of interest to our newsletter team, helmed by Patrick and Tom. If there has been any recent legal development in your jurisdiction that affects shipping, international trade or maritime arbitration, please do consider updating the rest of the Committee via an article.

Additionally, the Committee now has a forum page set up by our Website Officer, Raphael. If you have problems accessing it or have fresh ideas or suggestions, please contact him.

We would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Richard, Muge and Harmen in supporting the work of the CMI International Working Group in relation to the Judicial Sales project. Harmen, attended the virtual meeting of the UNCITRAL Working Group VI in mid-December 2020. We are pleased to advise that substantial progress has been made and a Judicial Sales Convention is likely to be the result of all these efforts and Muge/Harmen will provide an update to the Committee at the upcoming mini virtual conference in May.

We take this opportunity to thank all Committee Officers, who may not have been specifically mentioned here, and all Committee members, for your continued support. Committee A would not be the same without you. Once again, our best wishes for 2021 and hopefully, we will meet you all virtually in May 2021 and/or in person in Singapore in 2022!

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