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BIMCO elects its youngest President ever

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khatauBIMCO members have elected Yudhishthir Khatau as the 41st President of the international shipping organization. Succeeding German shipowner Robert Lorenz-Meyer, who has completed his two year time in office, Mr Khatau is the first BIMCO President from India and at 43, the youngest ever in the organization’s 106 year history.

He is Vice-chairman and managing director of Mumbai based Varun Shipping Company Ltd. which operates LPG carriers, tankers and offshore anchor handlers.

In his inaugural speech, the new BIMCO President focused strongly on energy issues, which he suggested were key to so many of the problems facing the shipping industry, as its most important running cost element, as a principal cargo commodity and as a driver for many of the regulatory changes which the industry is facing. Pointing out that while alternative energy sources such as nuclear, wind, solar or biofuels might seem attractive, present technology made them impractical for the foreseeable future and the industry, he emphasized, must live with fossil fuel and all its attendant challenges.

Global emission limits, the spread of emission controls and increasing pressures to reduce greenhouse gas, he said, constitute a “game changer” for many owners. Ship operators were increasingly having to make difficult choices on whether to fit scrubbers or opt for low sulfur fuels, while worrying about the availability of these.

Those considering newbuildings were asking questions about LNG-fueled possibilities and the practicality of its bunkering infrastructure.

From BIMCO’s perspective, he suggested that the role of the organization in representing its members in so many of the fuel and emission-related regulatory issues, was becoming increasingly important.

In the current debate over greenhouse gases, Mr Khatau urged global solutions and the avoidance of regional initiatives, practical solutions rather than “high politics”, and those which treat shipping fairly.

Stressing the importance of next month’s IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting, he expressed his hope that there can be agreement on the issue of energy efficiency indices, pointing out the importance of resisting any measures that turn shipping into a cash-cow for governments to resolve their issues with climate change.

June 13, 2011

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