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Esben Poulsson blends East and West in Singapore

3 August 2021
Esben Poulsson’s career in shipping spans 50 years

Esben Poulsson记得他航海生涯开始的确切日期是8月31日, 1971 – and he has a stamp in his passport to prove it.

Although he had some casual shipping related work before that, including three months at sea, aged 17, 正是他抵达香港的那一刻,他认为这是他人生旅程的开始. Now, as he approaches the 50th anniversary of that momentous arrival, he is still as passionate about shipping as he was then.

“That’s because of my love of the sea”, he told ICS Leadership Insights. “I am never happier than when I’m at sea.” And passion is essential in shipping, he believes. “You can’t teach it but if you don’t have it, find something else to do”. 他没有寻找其他工作的计划,他所担任的一长串高级职位证明了这一点.

They have accumulated by choice and chance. Since 2010, his main role has been Chairman of Enesel, 该公司为希腊Lemos航运家族管理着一支悬挂新加坡国旗的大型集装箱船船队.

两倍于此的头寸组合导致了潜在的利益冲突. In one case, 在一次董事会会议上,他意识到该公司正计划探索一项收购,而他的另一个客户也在考虑.

“我立即举手说,‘我不能参与这场讨论’。. Any suggestion that you could be conflicted is not worth it”, he said.

Go global, go local

作为一名生活在亚洲的斯堪的纳维亚人,他清楚这两个地区不同的管理风格. 他表示,欧洲的管理方式“非常合意,(但)亚洲的管理方式则自上而下得多”.

To reconcile these very different approaches, Poulsson has adopted a slogan that he attributes to HSBC: ‘go global, go local’. “I try to live by that. It’s not for me to impose [changes] when I’m in a different country.”

“(COVID - 19)带来了我从未见过的更大程度的合作”


At the time, it offered indentures to aspiring new staff, 为员工提供培训,以换取员工承诺在离职后在公司工作一段时间. “But I wasn’t interested in tying someone down for five years, even though we had financially supported them.” Instead, at the end of their training, 如果他们表现够好,就会得到一份工作。”如果他们不喜欢,也可以自由离开.他说,他想要“一种积极、愉快的相互尊重的气氛”。.

Seafarer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Shutterstock
Seafarer during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Shutterstock

他看到,由于新冠肺炎疫情,整个行业在面对人员更换和疫苗分发等挑战时,出现了一定程度的相互尊重. For example, ICS——一个船东组织——一直在与ITF——一个工会组织——进行“大发黄金版网页版可以共同做什么的极具建设性的双向对话”. (新冠肺炎疫情)带来的合作水平是我从未见过的。.

More broadly, groups such as BIMCO, Intertanko, 国际货运公司(Intercargo)和世界航运理事会(World Shipping Council)正在定期举行会议,讨论推迟的船员变更问题,以及他认为目前航运业面临的最大担忧:“海员得到了他们应该得到的待遇……而各国政府正在加快步伐,做他们应该做的事情。”.

ICS priority issues

Poulsson paid tribute to the ICS secretariat, 他说,在新燃料和排放等其他优先问题上取得了很大进展, piracy, cyber security and more; “each deserves our best attention”, he said.  他将ICS与航空业的同类组织进行了比较, IATA, which he said has more than 1,000 staff in 10 offices worldwide to represent 290 airlines. By contrast, ICS has 26 staff in one office, as well as one staff member in Hong Kong and another in Australia, and represents 80% of the world fleet.

Yet “shipping is a very individualistic type of business”, he said, 一些船东并没有意识到行业组织通过他们的工作给他们带来的好处. “我认为,如果没有它们,(它们所处理的情况)将会糟糕得多.”

IMO faces a similar issue, he suggested. Many business people “don’t really understand how it actually works”. He knows how they feel: “Before I got involved in association work, I could never really understand it”, he admitted.

对他来说,国际海事组织的实际影响的一个转折点来自于长期以来关于0的争论.5%的硫上限将被引入——2020年或2025年——这将在2016年10月结束,当时MEPC 70同意应该在2020年1月1日. “The industry would probably have preferred 2025 … [but] we got a decision and a date; at least it was a done deal.”

Now, the emissions focus has moved on, to CO2 emissions, 也许ICS在他任职期间对海事组织作出的最重要贡献是它提议对地堡征税以为R&在船舶燃料发展的下一步:零碳技术.

The next 50 years

这将开创一种与过去50年截然不同的船舶设计和运营方式,保尔森预测,未来50年将是革命性的.  New fuels and their infrastructure, 新技术和监管的发展“将带来巨大的变化”, he said.

Change will not be limited to ships themselves. Take 3D printing, for example: although the container sector is currently booming, “on a longer-term basis, you have to question what its effect will be”, he suggested.

这些预测反映了他的经验所提供的对行业的广泛看法,他将这种方法应用到他的ICS角色中. 他表示:“作为董事长,我的职责不是深入研究事实真相。. He does, however, 为船东和会员协会(他在任期内访问过大多数协会)提供一个发言权,并在行业之外发出强有力的声音, 定期向媒体发表讲话,并与ICS秘书处合作编写文章和评论.

When he is quoted in the media, he is often described as an ‘elder statesman’, he said but when he began, “I was always the youngest in the room. What happened?” His passion remains the same, however, 这是一种双向的体验:“年轻人忘记了,像我这样的人可以从他们身上学到的东西,和他们认为他们可以从我身上学到的一样多。.”