In the northern hemisphere, we are nearing the end of a long hard winter, one complicated with lockdowns, limits on movement, and a universal fatigue from the onslaught of COVID-19. Thankfully, seasons are turning; and new beginnings are within sight.
It’s been more than a year since our planet was plunged into the throes of this devastating pandemic, forcing us to rethink and recalibrate our routines. At that time I was based in Shanghai, and with China being the first nation to feel the force of the pandemic, it was truly challenging to keep our people safe and support our clients in the early days. I am now based in the UK, having taken over the role of Marine and Offshore Director from Nick Brown, who now leads LR as CEO.
For all of us, there have been dark moments when we have been severely tested by the daily fight against disease. Despite the upheaval, people around the world have shown tenacity and resilience. We have worked hard to improvise, find solutions and have continued to perform notwithstanding so many obstacles. Without doubt, events of the past year have left a mark – we’ve all had time to reflect, re-evaluate our priorities and reposition our energies.
There are still challenges to overcome but with national vaccination programmes rolling out across the globe, there is growing confidence that our world will open once more, and we will soon be able to re-embrace life’s more regular rhythms and meet up face to face.
As an industry on the frontline, maritime is more than familiar with the peaks and troughs of global trade. We have played a key role in maintaining global supply chains during these difficult pandemic months – at times to the enormous personal cost of the men and women at sea – and in spite of recent travails, there is a palpable optimism that the decade ahead promises a period of growth and renewal as many societies look to build back better, embracing sustainability concerns.
In my new role, I will be making significant investments in our classification, certification and verification services to better support our clients and their businesses as the technology and regulatory landscape evolves, shaping the future of class.
These are transformational times. Our collective actions on safety and environmental challenges require considered attention. The astute and efficient use of data and technology is critical for our industry’s performance as we navigate the risks and opportunities ahead. Significant and sizeable investment decisions will be made this decade with supply chain stakeholders seeking impartial and expert advice. LR is committed to its strong partnerships across the ocean economy, working with you as a trusted advisor in support of our industry’s future performance.