Shipping has always been a people business and will continue to be. With this in mind, I am pleased to write that on 20 May, more than 600 members of the shipping community will meet for the Chairman’s Cocktail party in London for what promises to be a fantastic event. With industry figures flying in from around the world to attend, members are encouraged to book tickets now to guarantee a place at this essential shipping fixture. The party celebrates what the Baltic is – at heart a community of shipping professionals dedicated to doing good business with clients and each other.
Prior to the cocktail party, the FFA community will meet at the Baltic for its annual forum – the only market-encompassing gathering of its kind in the world. This year’s forum comes at a critical stage in the freight market cycle and there will undoubtedly be much to discuss. Scheduled topics include in-depth analysis of the global commodity bulk carrier fleet profile, deliveries, potential order book cancellations and scrapping prospects in light of cheaper available energy.
We hope to also present on the position of finance houses, lending to owners using FFAs to hedge their earnings. An overview of recent shifts in the scale of iron ore production taking place across southern hemisphere mining countries will also be given.
The impact of MiFID II on the industry – re-classification of freight contracts as derivatives – will also be discussed at the FFABA forum. The Baltic has put in submissions to the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) for both MiFID consultations that it has instigated and visited a number of regulators in Brussels and Paris. We are now waiting to hear the outcome of the consultations and will keep members informed of developments.
As the spring progresses, I would like to encourage members to take full advantage of the sporting and social opportunities provided by Baltic clubs. Social evenings and sports matches are excellent occasions for strengthening the relationships and connections so essential to our industry. The absence of a trading floor does not negate the need for face time with other members, but puts more of an onus on us to arrange meet-ups and participate in activities. On this note, all Baltic member companies are invited to put forward pairs for the Fehr Cup doubles competition (now in its 80th year) which will be held at the Surbiton Lawn Tennis Club on 23 June.