On behalf of the board of directors I would like to wish everyone a very happy 2015. The year just beginning promises to be an active and exciting one for the Baltic, as we seek to develop the Baltic’s central role in the shipping services sector against rapid change in trading patterns and fleet evolution, globalisation of our marketplace and the regulatory impact to our benchmark production.
The Baltic’s electronic trading platform, Baltex, is making rapid progress, with many block trades being reported. The patience and hard work of Baltic members is paying off. We expect Baltex to establish itself firmly in the FFA market this year, but remain fully aware of the symbiotic relationship with brokers that must be nurtured and maintained to ensure the platform’s ongoing success.
Locally, during the months following the general election in May, the Baltic will seize on the opportunity to interact with the new government and ministers to impress upon them how vital shipping is to the UK and world economy. The increase in the Remittance Basis Charge announced in the UK Chancellor’s 2014 Autumn Statement and new £90,000 fee for longer-term non-domiciled residents is a blatant reversal of explicit undertakings provided by the current government as recently as 2011. We have protested loudly and will ensure this is not forgotten.
London International Shipping Week 2015 will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase all that London has to offer in the way of shipping services to the international community, and we look forward to collaborating with members to ensure the event is as successful as possible.
Internally, we look to strengthen the Baltic’s freight market information as part of our longer term succession planning. This will further the department’s ability to provide a high standard of reporting on current routes, whilst simultaneously liaising with members on improvements, suggested new routes and vessel definitions.
We are near completion of the redraft of the Manual for Panellists to ensure we comply with all aspects of the Principles for Financial Benchmarks published in 2012 by the International Organisation of Securities Commissions. Work continues to ensure the proposed EU Regulation on market benchmarks is reasonable and allows us to continue to follow our established methods.
The microsite on which you are reading this message, thebalticbriefing.com, is new for 2015. The visually engaging and interactive site replaces the Wednesday member update email and Friday market report email, complementing the Baltic’s main website.
Members will receive an email twice a week with links to content posted on the site and are encouraged to submit notices about/news of club and society events for publication. Along with content that featured in past weekly member update emails, the ‘Chairman’s blog’ will keep members updated with the Baltic’s current aims and activities, while the ‘Guest column’ will air news and views from other leaders within the industry.
With best wishes for a successful year,