Ferdinand Ritter

Today the Ports, Maritime & Waterways (PMW) Forum met in the premises of Image Line and discussed past, current and future events.

The purpose of the PMW-Forum is to provide members with a platform to explore the critical issues of the day affecting you and your business. They aim to cover the interests of all those involved in waterborne transport both domestically and internationally. This sector’s work will include freight, trade, port, operations, passenger, cruise terminals and safety matters.

Including me, 8 people from different companies involved in maritime logistics came together. The first item on the agenda was the structure of the committee. The roles of the different persons were explained again and confirmed by mutual agreement.

After that the question arose, who visits the website or how can we define our target group? It came clear, that both of the questions can’t be answered without having feedback from the IT-department but the main question was still there: How can we make the maritime sector more attractive to young people?

As a representative of the young generation, the chairman asked me directly. I will now give my answer analogously and elaborate my thoughts on it a little.

Among my fellow students, I noticed that many only really deal with what comes afterwards at the end of their studies. Companies that are already known to students through trade fair appearances, seminars, training courses and internship invitations have an advantage here. So instead of hoping that the students are interested in the maritime sector, you should go and invite them to have a look. In general, I think you can only really change the reputation of something in the long term if you invite people, then they convince themselves of the opposite and also communicate this to their peers. Specific measures to give the students access and a connection to the maritime sector would be day or long-term internships that are adapted to the dates of the respective university, seminars or guided tours with a subsequently issued certificate which confirms participation and content. Such measures would be advantageous for students because they confirm commitment and thirst for knowledge. On the other hand, the respective industry would benefit from it, because many students who would otherwise have never seen a port from the inside were now able to enjoy expert knowledge and insights on site, thus removing the distance to the maritime industry.

The next topic was – who would have guessed – “Brexit” and its consequences. It is important for companies to be “border ready”. In order to prevent a traffic jam and thus delays in the process, a border control should not be carried out directly at the port but on the streets in front of it. When the vehicles have passed this pre-qualifier, they receive a green signal and can enter the port.

The effects of IMO-SULPHUR 2020 will be discussed at the beginning of the third quarter in order to assess a certain impact and development.

Another very important topic – which many harbours don’t seem to take seriously enough – is cyber security. A specific event could be organized in order to raise awareness about the risks and threats but also the possibilities to protect and insure your system. The attention paid on cyber security and IT could be used to draw attention to the maritime sector and the important aspect of IT and safety in this sector.

In summary there are certainly 3 and possibly 4 events this year. An event on cyber security is planned – probably in July in Plymouth, as other events in the sector are also taking place there.