As a Baltic Member you are part of a powerful group of companies and individuals. You have an outsized influence on the movement of global trade, something which affects everyone on this planet. Baltic Exchange Members are drawn from every part of the commercial bulk shipping markets. Collectively you are responsible for a huge proportion of the world’s fixtures; you buy and sell around half of the world’s ships and many of you are pioneers in the business of freight derivatives. And I am honoured to be your representative.
The role of Baltic Exchange Chairman is important. Since the acquisition of the Baltic by the Singapore Exchange (SGX), the role has changed. The Chairman of the Baltic is no-longer the voice of the shareholders, but the voice of the Members. Previous Chairmen had to walk a tricky tightrope, trying to balance both the operational needs of Members and the financial needs of the Member shareholders.
My role is more straightforward: I am here to ensure that your voice and your needs are met by the Baltic Exchange.
The Baltic Exchange touches on many aspects of Baltic Exchange Members’ working lives. This includes the independent indices and assessments which so many rely on to settle and benchmark their transactions; the Code of Conduct which underpins the way in which you all do business. We help you do business and we represent your needs to governments. We perform a charitable function, supporting numerous maritime related charities around the world and we have a role to play in education.
I have been in the position for only a few weeks, and already I have seen many of these aspects of the Baltic’s work in play.
Just last week, along with a range of ship operators, I attended a meeting in London with the Egyptian authorities responsible for the Suez Canal. We heard about the plans for the Canal’s continued expansion and expressed our concerns at the difficulties faced by ship masters when making a transit, which was well received.
I have been reviewing the revised Baltic Code which will be sent to all Members soon. The updated Code has been rewritten as a response to the compliance and operational challenges for shipping professionals created by evolving legal, regulatory and policy development in all jurisdictions where Baltic Members operate.
On the charitable side, I attended an event by The Stelios Haji-Ioannou Philanthropic Foundation in London to showcase its support for the RNLI. The connections between the Haji-Ioannou family and the Baltic go back many years, and I am hopeful that our charitable foundations can work closely together in the future.
I also attended the most recent council meeting of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), a voice not just in the City but for the whole of London. Our speciality in shipping means the LCCI look to the Baltic Exchange for guidance in London on global bulk shipping trade, making the LCCI another place our voice should be heard.
But to do my role as Chairman justice, I need your input and support. If you have any issues you wish to see raised at the Baltic Exchange Council, please contact me. My door is always open.