Island delegation seeks shipping business
A delegation from Bermuda is in London to promote the island’s shipping registries, meet with existing clients and network with potential future clients.
Members of the Bermuda Shipping and Management Authority, the Bermuda Business Development Agency and a number of the island’s service providers are among the group representing Bermuda at London International Shipping Week.
Walter Roban, Deputy Premier, is also part of the delegation. He said it was important for Bermuda to be represented at the biennial convention, which is regarded as one of the sector’s most significant global gatherings.
More than 140 related functions are being held during the week, including the London International Shipping Week Conference which takes place today. An estimated 15,000 industry leaders are estimated to have converged on London for the week of events.
Mr Roban, who is also the Minister of Transport and Regulatory Affairs, said: “London is a major capital for shipping and the London International Shipping Week is a premier convention for all the major players in global shipping, of which we have many clients and we are looking for additional clients.”
He said the Bermuda presence was also part of an overall push to let the world know that the island is open for business and that even with the change of government “our momentum and push to expand the understanding and knowledge of Bermuda as a premier business destination has not stopped and we are continuing to do that”.
Captain Pat Nawaratne, acting chief executive officer of the BSMA, described it as a relationship-building visit, providing an opportunity to meet existing and potential clients and to have discussions with industry leaders and stay informed about the latest news and issues regarding shipping and associated areas of insurance.
A major talking point has been the forthcoming International Maritime Organisation audit of all member administrations.
“If you do not do well with the IMO audit, then you will get into a bad category within their listing. We have been working very hard on this in Bermuda. [Being here] we hear from our colleagues about how they are doing and difficulties they are having,” said Captain Nawaratne.
The island is also promoting itself to the shipping community, he said, adding: “Just as we are looking for the ship owners, there are ship owners looking for better flags for their ships. So we have discussions with some of the potential ship owners who want to come and register in Bermuda.”
Bermuda is a Category 1 member of the Red Ensign Group, which is highly regarded for its regulatory leadership.
Captain Nawaratne said that when a ship is registered in Bermuda the wider benefits for the island can include company formation and additional business activity in other parts of the economy.
Ross Webber, CEO of the BDA, said the group has held private meetings with business people in London and also spoken to international publication’s, including Lloyd’s List.
The BDA hosted “Bermuda’s Nautical Night” networking reception at the start of the week for about 200 guests. Among those who attended were former Bermuda governors George Fergusson and Sir John Vereker.
Bermuda also presented a private function at Capital Link’s Shipping, Marine Services and Offshore Forum.
The BDA group in London this week includes Kevin Richards, business development manager with responsibilities for growing Bermuda’s shipping, aircraft and technology sectors.
The team met with a delegation from Abu Dhabi. Mr Webber said that meeting was “to start the conversation about possible symmetries, possible alignments and possible partnerships”.
He added: “They have launched a new financial centre in Abu Dhabi, called the Abu Dhabi Global Market, which is their equivalent to the Dubai International Financial Centre.
“Being here in London to facilitate conversations like that is incredibly valuable, and is the type of geographical diversification that I think we ought to be looking at.”
Having a high-level member of government as part of the Bermuda delegation this week has been viewed as significant and a positive as was the island’s team approach involving a number of business groups and private companies, said Mr Roban.
He added: “Those that I have met have been impressed that Bermuda has been able to put together such a delegation. We are a government that is entering a partnership, so not only are our public-sector partners here, but there are a number of our local private partners and companies that are part of the same effort to promote Bermuda.”
The island-based companies attending the week of functions include Conyers, Appleby, MJM, Cox Hallett Wilkinson, and Consolidated Group.