Just under a year from London International Shipping Week 2019, the event's organisers have offered a glimpse of how current political dynamics are shaping the planning for LISW19.
At a press briefing, LISW19 steering group chairman John Hulmes said significant market changes that have taken place since the last iteration of the biennial event in 2017 were driving the steering group to evolve the event's focus from innovation to trade.
“If you look at the geopolitics that are going on at the moment... you look at America, where for the first time in a generation, you have protectionism coming back in again, and that is even before you start looking at the domestic market and looking at Brexit,” Mr Hulmes said.
“So, putting all those together, what has been agreed by the LISW steering group is that the central theme for LISW 2019 will be ‘International Trade in a Changing World’. The key words are there: yes, it’s international … it’s trade and it’s changing,” he said.
LISW19 organisers threw a launch event in the evening where UK Department for Transport maritime director Roger Hargreaves, OBE said the timing for LISW19 was a crucial opportunity to foster the perception that the UK will be ‘very clearly open for business’ post-Brexit.
“The 2019 event will take place just six months after the UK leaves the European Union,” Mr Hargreaves said, “and so it is an especially important opportunity to showcase our shipping industry to the rest of the world. Since the referendum, ministers have been very clear that our departure is not about the UK retreating from its global status.”
Mr Hargreaves said the UK Government's ambition was to be “one of the firmest advocates for free trade anywhere in the world”.
“The government wants LISW to be the embodiment of that ambition, demonstrating the UK is the place to come together to address the maritime challenges of the future and show the world we are a leading maritime nation and a champion of free trade,” he said.