John Denholm, UK Chamber of Shipping President, 2020-2022
This time twelve months ago I was deeply honoured to take up the role of President of the UK Chamber of Shipping. In my foreword last year, I looked ahead with optimism about the opportunities for the UK shipping and maritime sector and the role the Chamber could play.
As we all know, this last year has been unprecedented in so many ways. It is surely not too dramatic to say it is the greatest challenge we have faced for a generation. And it is a challenge we are still facing twelve months on.
As well as Covid, we have also had the challenge of dealing with the end of the Transition Period and tackling decarbonisation. But the Chamber has risen to these challenges admirably and it is to deal with such situations that the Chamber exists. It is not just around for the good times and when things are easy; it is here to protect our great industry through the difficult times – and that is exactly what it has done.
Back in March the Chamber implemented new ways of working to ensure we were representing our members’ interests to the best of our ability. We have taken advantage of the use of technology to meet our members more regularly, and our engagement with ministers and officials has also dramatically increased.
We lobbied on behalf of our members and secured support for ferry operators; ensured seafarers were classed as key workers; persuaded the Treasury to amend the rules around the Job Retention Scheme so it included more seafarers and maritime workers. We supported cadets training by getting the government to agree to an extension to SMarT funding and we produced new Framework documents which will enable the cruise sector to put measures in place and restart cruising as soon as conditions allow.
In has been a year like no other but throughout this Journal, you will see evidence of what the Chamber has achieved and where it has made a difference. But we can’t just look back, you will also see our plans for the future: tackling climate change; improving safety for our seafarers, and ensuring skills and training are fit for the future through the MNTB.
Key to the Chamber’s success in addressing the issues of the day is the terrific work done by our committees and panels, where the secretariat works closely with the membership to develop solutions, and the value of this relationship has been demonstrated throughout this year. The Chamber looks forward to this work developing in the year ahead, so that the shipping sector can continue to thrive.