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Global Maritime Forum reveals winners of Future Maritime Leaders essay competition

Digitalization, environmental sustainability, geopolitics, the maritime workforce and their interlinkage are top issues, capturing the attention among the next generation of maritime leaders. This is clear from the 140 essays from 46 different countries around the world, submitted in connection with the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition, organized by the Global Maritime Forum. The competition aims to give students and young professionals aged 18-30 a voice in the debate about how the maritime industry can sustainably address maritime challenges and opportunities – and the industry a chance to listen.

Members of the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition selection committee reflect on the essay contributions:

“It is heartening to see the wide variety of issues and creativity contained in the many essays. It makes me believe that the future is bright for the long-term sustainability of the global seaborne trade,” says Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist of the Institute for the Environment, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Chair of the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition selection committee. She looks forward to learning more about the next generations views at the Global Maritime Forum’s 2019 Annual Summit in Singapore, where the three essay winners will represent the voice of future generations.

According to Graham Westgarth, CEO of V.Group, young talents may very well be the source of the solutions to many of the challenges our industry is facing. “A majority of essays see digitalization as a great opportunity and enabler, while at the same time issuing warnings about potential downsides such as increased cyber security threats,” he comments.

“The next generation sees decarbonization and environmental protection as a serious responsibility of the maritime industry, which on the other hand provides unique opportunities for development and innovation,” says Amy Jadesimi, Managing Director of LADOL. She believes that leaders need to understand what is on top of the agenda among young talents in order to be an attractive employer.

Oivind Lorentzen III, Director of SEACOR Holdings notes the youth’s interest in international affairs and geopolitics. “Many essays take an interest in shifting geopolitical trends such as changes in trade dynamics, changes in national and international politics and governance over the maritime industry. The general consensus is that the maritime industry needs to be flexible and resilient in the face of these challenges,” he says.

“Several essays point to how the maritime industry loses out on potential talent due to unattractive career opportunities. They propose more investment in training of the current workforce and a larger acceptance of nationality and gender differences to change this perception,” comments Stephen Cotton, General Secretary, International Transport Workers’ Federation. He finds it encouraging to see how young people engage in this issue and come up with tangible solutions.

Essay winners address automation, environmental challenges and the broader sustainability agenda

The three winners of the Future Maritime Leaders essay competition reflect the large diversity amongst the competition participants and essay topics, observes Kasper Søgaard, Head of Research at the Global Maritime Forum, and selection committee member. “The three winners come from different continents, represent various professions and write about diverse issues that are all highly relevant for the future of the maritime industry,” he says.

Competition winner, Iorliam Simon Tersoo, a 30-year-old Maritime Safety Officer from Nigeria, addresses the need for preparing the next generation of seafarers to a more digitalized future due to the automation of the maritime industry. In his opinion, the future calls for digital seafarers, who will sit ashore and take ships to sea and back safely, observing the relevant regulations, whilst carrying out the conventional functions of seafarers automatically and conducting them safely even in the face of perils.

An emissions trading scheme supported by spatial-temporal emission profiles is the focus of Yiqi Zhang’s winning essay. In the light of the forthcoming environmental and climate related regulations, the 30-year-old Chinese PhD student argues how a trading scheme will offer flexibility for regulation compliance during a policy transition period and provide financial incentives for the industry to upgrade to a greener business.

Circular economy is a keyword for Line Fryd Hofmansen, a 26-year-old Management Consultant from Denmark. In her winning essay, she envisions how the maritime industry can have a long-term impact on the broader sustainability agenda. By finding new ways to leverage its role and impact in the ecosystem of trade, the maritime industry can become an enabler of the circular economy in global supply chains.

The three winners of the essay competition will participate in Global Maritime Forum’s upcoming Annual Summit in Singapore, where they will represent the next generation of maritime talent. The high-level meeting will convene more than 200 leaders from across the maritime spectrum who have the will to address the burning issues facing the maritime industry. Working together, they will develop solutions for a safe, clean, inclusive and efficient maritime industry.
Source: Global Maritime Forum

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