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Maritime Leaders to Debate The Future of The Private Independent Shipowner at Sea Asia 2017

2017-04-17 18:53
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SINGAPORE, April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Experts from the maritime industry are gearing up to debate, discuss and analyze the opportunities and challenges facing the industry at Sea Asia 2017.


One of the key highlights this year will be the inaugural Parliamentary Debate, which will see six shipping industry leaders debate -- Parliamentary-style -- the motion 'This House believes that the best days of the private independent shipowner are over'. This will be followed by a floor debate and conclude with a vote from the audience itself.  

Chaired by Andreas Sohmen-Pao, Chairman of BW Group Ltd and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, the debate will delve into the complexities and outlook of the shipping industry that has traditionally been modeled around privately-owned, family-oriented businesses, which are now coming up against increased challenges.

The speakers for the motion are Kenneth Hvid, President and CEO of Teekay Corporation, Michael Parker, Global Head for Shipping, Logistics and Offshore Industries at Citigroup, and Mikael Skov, Chief Executive Officer of Hafnia Tankers. Those going against the motion are Randy Chen, Vice Chairman of Wan Hai Lines, Filippos Lemos, President of N.S. Lemos & Company Ltd, and Philippe Louis-Dreyfus, President of BIMCO and Chairman of Louis Dreyfus Armateurs S.A.S.

Providing a preview of the debate, Mr Parker said: "Globally the shipping sector has seen many companies shift away from private, independent ownership. This continues a trend to seek outside capital and diversify sources of finance as traditional shipping banks cut back given heavy losses in the industry, regulatory pressure and the need for greater transparency in their clients business.

"Traditional sources of finance for ship orders are drying up as many banks look to improve their lending portfolios and decrease risk. For many independent private shipowners, this means looking to different financial solutions, with non-bank sources such as private equity and hedge funds. For some private and family-owned businesses, going public will be the alternative solution although for many small and medium-sized companies, mergers to create scale first will be essential to attract investor interest."

Speakers will debate the value of going public or taking on private equity from outside investors, and consider whether these are sustainable solutions, given the volatile nature of the shipping industry.

Going against the motion, Mr Louis-Dreyfus said despite the various headwinds facing the industry today, there is still a future for the private independent shipowner, such as the family-owned business he currently leads.

"Private shipowners have the ability to directly influence their company strategy, and hence have the opportunity to be more agile and innovative. Now, more than ever, it is important for shipowners to understand the value of deep research, risk analysis, identification of risk mitigation, innovative solutions and a high-quality team. By focusing on these areas private shipowners will be able to better leverage opportunities that arise in the current market.

"The shipping industry has a founded reputation for being volatile and cyclical. While I believe that the future of the private family business -- especially those in the big bulk transportation business -- will not be as bright as before, I strongly believe there is still a future for the private shipping companies which know how to react to changes in the industry. These include maintaining good relations with stakeholders and managing finances well. Family businesses usually do better in these areas, especially those in the shipping sector.

"I look forward to engaging in a robust discussion with my industry peers on this topic at Sea Asia 2017," said Mr Louis-Dreyfus.

Established as one of Southeast Asia's largest maritime conferences and leading forum for analysis and debate on the challenges and opportunities facing the sector, Sea Asia 2017 will take place next week in Singapore from 25-27 April 2017.

For more information, please contact:

Disha Gurnani                                                  Caroline Leeming
Email:                Email: 
Mobile: +65 9789 1655                                       Mobile: +65 8742 3266
DID:     +65 6239 4105                                       DID:     +65 6239 4102

About Sea Asia 2017

Sea Asia, the premier maritime and offshore conference and exhibition in Asia is returning for the 6th edition on 25-27 April 2017 at the Marina Bay Sands®, Singapore. Co-organised by Seatrade and the Singapore Maritime Foundation, Sea Asia is well-attended by trade professionals and some of the most influential and respected leaders in the industry, delivering an unparalleled reach of key decision-makers.

Alongside an international exhibition, the highly acclaimed and interactive Sea Asia conference complements and puts Sea Asia at the forefront of regional maritime events. International thought-leaders will address the latest topics, debate on key trends, and discuss opportunities and challenges facing the maritime and offshore businesses from a commercial perspective.

For a full list of sponsors and exhibitors, and more information on the conference programme, please visit

About Seatrade

Founded in 1970, Seatrade was acquired in 2014 by UBM, the world's second largest media and event organiser across a wide variety of industries. Seatrade's publications, events, management training, research and award schemes cover every aspect of the cruise and maritime industries. The company's principal strength is its ability to bring key people together, encouraging innovation and facilitating better communication within the industry. Seatrade is headquartered in Colchester, UK, with regional offices in Dubai, Singapore, as well as representatives in all major maritime centres and cruise destinations across the globe.

For more information, please visit

About the Singapore Maritime Foundation

Established in 2004, the Singapore Maritime Foundation (SMF) is a private sector-led organisation that seeks to develop and promote Singapore as an International Maritime Centre (IMC). As the representative voice for the commercial players of the maritime industry, SMF seeks to forge strong partnerships with the public and private sectors of the maritime industry. SMF spearheads initiatives to promote the diverse clusters of the maritime industry in Singapore and at international frontiers, and to attract young talents to join the sector. SMF is directed by its Board of Directors which comprises prominent leaders in the Singapore maritime community.

For details, please visit

About the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 (22nd-28th April 2017)

Sea Asia 2017 is held in conjunction with the Singapore Maritime Week 2017 (SMW). SMW is the leading maritime event in Singapore driven by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. SMW gathers the international maritime community in Singapore for a week of conferences, dialogues, exhibitions and social events in celebration of all things maritime. These events reflect the vibrancy and diversity of Singapore as a major international maritime centre.

Source: Seatrade Communications
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