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Editor in chief: Angelo Scorza
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08/10/18 10:50

Italian speakers on show at Malta Maritime Summit 2018

A few Italian panellists took part in the main technical sessions of the conference held in the Templars' Island

Floriana (Malta) Federagenti’s president Gian Enzo Duci voiced his satisfaction on his social network profile for the compliments received during the evening event held on the first day of the Malta Maritime Summit 2018: “When, after my speech at the meeting, one of the great protagonists of maritime history told me that he really liked my speech and that he agrees with me, I realized that probably all the sacrifices I made were worth it...”

Together with the British government official (from Gibraltar) Chief Executive UK Chamber of Shipping,Bob Sanguinetti, and the Greek politician as well as Maritime, Shipping, Land Transport & ITS, Senior Advisor Fotis Karamitsos (already a member of the EU Transport Commission in Brussels for 36 years), Federagenti President Duci took part in the session “Outlook for shipping in a volatile world”, where they discussed mainly about geopolitical threats, which could damage shipping recovery after the long recession.

Following the survey among the audience it emerged that, among the various future threats for the recovery of the maritime market, the most feared is the rapid development of Chinese aggressive economy (41% of votes), followed by USA President Donald Trump's protectionist policies (36%), while both Brexit (6%) and sanctions against Iran (6%) were regarded as less serious, and 12% of votes referred to other unspecified causes.

During the following session entitled “New market opportunities for global operators in an evolving geopolitical scenario: the OBOR (New Silk Road) initiative and its impact on the European community and the UK” another Italian speaker, the Neapolitan researcher Arianna Buonfanti of SRM Intesa Sanpaolo, illustrated the widespread trends in the Mediterranean with some stimulating slides: from the consolidation of the industry to naval gigantism, without leaving out China's strategy (aiming at economic supremacy worldwide) within the European maritime, port and logistics sectors, involving hubs ranging from Eastern Med to Northern Range, from the Aegean and Black Sea to the Iberian peninsula.

The Neapolitan analyst was joined by two speakers of international fame, i.e. Gulf Navigation Holding PJSC managing director Khamis Juma Buamim, and European Tug Owners Association secretary general Anna Darmanin, who was also a member of the European Economic and Social Committee representing Malta for 11 years, as well as lecturer at the Department of Political Sciences of the University of Malta.

The United Arab Emirates shipowner – who relaunched a shipping company boasting a dozen chemical tankers and being the only shipping company listed in the stock exchange of Dubai (since 2007) – as well as Dubai Council of Maritime Industry Chairman expressed his optimism. As a matter of fact, Buamim regards all the possible threats to political and trade balances worldwide as a business opportunity for the most watchful shipping companies.

On the other hand, the Maltese officer foresees hard times for Europe as its fragility is clear, not only in the maritime sector, and because it is competitive only in closer geographical areas.

The other Italian speakers who took part in the high-level conference held in the capital of the Templars' Island were the two eminent maritime lawyers Francesco Saverio Lauro – trusted lawyer of the Naples-based Gruppo Grimaldi and organizer of the Shipping & the Law event, the ninth edition of which will be held in Naples in mid-October – and Francesco Bentivegna, Oil & Gas expert with a deep knowledge of the Russian-Eurasiatic countries possessing oil wells.

They were joined by the mediation and arbitration expert, i.e. London barrister Jonathan Lux – who worked for renowned British firm Ince & Co. for 30 years – in the session entitled ‘New conflicts and disputes. Is arbitration still economically viable?’ according to which maritime arbitrations will be set aside.

The MMS 2018 focused also on the rapid development of the latest virtual finance phenomenon within maritime economy (and economy in general), i.e. cryptocurrencies and blockchain, with the related smart contracts.

Chaired by Jean Piè Gauci-Maistre – son of the organizer of the event and above all maritime lawyer and Gauci-Maistre Xynou Legal & Assurance managing partner – the session was attended also by the representatives of the Ukrainian company Shipnext, managed by the shipping agent and ship manager Alexander Varvarenko, one of the pioneers of maritime blockchain.

It is no coincidence that this issue was discussed in Malta because, being at the forefront of taxation and investment facilitations, this island in the middle of the Mediterranean drew the world's attention as leader in these uncertified economic activity.

Simultaneously with the MMS 2018, La Valletta hosted the Delta Conference & Exhibition, gathering thousands of digital innovation experts from all over the world.

As a matter of fact, being already the first European naval registry for the registration of ships and yachts, Malta also aims at becoming the cradle of the first “blockchain ecosystem”.

 

Angelo Scorza

 

 

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