Maritime Law and Logistics beyond 2020

The international seminar Maritime Law and Logistics beyond 2020, that was held on Wednesday the third of July, marked one of the highlights of the IMLAW (International Maritime Law & Arbitration Week) at the Erasmus School of Law.

At the academic heart of Rotterdam (Maritime Capital of Europe), the seminar envisioned the slogan “Where Business meets Law”. The topic was Maritime Law and Logistics beyond 2020. At first the Dutch Shipowners Association touched upon general challenges that lay ahead for short sea shipping sector, after which the audience was thrown into the deep by speakers on environmental issues. The public is unaware of the many sustainability initiatives that are already happening. Suggesting the – perceived – conservative maritime industry should give more attention to communicate these initiatives better. Both Arne Hubregtse, Spliethoff Group and Jeroen Dudley-Owen, Stolt Tankers of the Shipowners and Mark Kruidenier of DNV GL gave an insight on the rules towards 2030 and even 2050.

Next the program moved more towards the legal aspects with presentations on autonomous shipping and the possible shift in liability when there is no crew on board.

“Shipowners are their own worst enemy” was said when talking about whether or not retrofitting ships after 2020. When “old” vessels will be scrapped, Freight rates might go up, and then owners are expected to immediately start ordering new builds.

During the lunch at the Faculty Club attendees had plenty of time for networking and to meet new people. The seminar was attended by both business representatives and academics from all over the world. That is the advantage of combining the IMLAM (International Maritime Law & Arbitration Moot) Competition with a business seminar & the Conference Transport Law de lege veranda, where young academics debate their vision on Transport Law cases and legislation.

After the break the seminar moved towards the world of BIMCO documents. The main objective of BIMCO is making business life easier by providing standardized contracts in an complex world. As the new gas tanker charter party – ASBAGASVOY – has recently been announced and new documents coming up, Soren Larsen (strategy manager) explained the process of getting the documents recognized.

Participants could then choose between two workshops, on the Chinese One Belt One Road initiative or more detailed info on BIMCO contracts. The second pair of workshops were between Blockchain or Platformisation. Difficult choices for the participants. During the Blockchain workshop it became clear that the first Blockchain container shipment from China to Poland was successfully documented. As “the proof of the pudding is in the eating” this is a major step for digitization of legal documents.

The last but not least panel discussion about major challenges focused on crew onboard ships. The human element will change, from Ship to Shore, so Education will be key in this transformation.

During the networking drinks afterwards there were ample discussions about opportunities. Suggesting that the audience was given plebnty food for thought. The drinks were hosted by Rotterdam Maritime Capital of Europe.