The maritime industry globally is set to meet its full potential following the unveiling of an umbrella body for all national, regional and international associations of ship owners called World Ship Owners Association (WSOA).
The association which was established in furtherance to the adoption of the agreement of the international maritime round table (IMRT) held in Washington DC, USA, on Monday, October 2, 2015, had in attendance mainly owners of container ships, bulk carriers, tankers, fishing vessels, barges, specialized ships and ferries from 29 countries including the United States of America, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Russia, Nigeria, Denmark, Norway and others.
In a press release signed by WSOA’s interim Director of Strategy and Communications, Isaac Marshall, he acknowledged the efforts of stakeholders in advocating regional and international co-operation among national and regional bodies towards the growth and development of marine business globally, noting that the association will primarily serve as the universal representative of the shipping industry worldwide.
The statement reads in part, “Today, we are excited to announce the birth of the much-awaited international co-operation among players in the maritime industry. The World Ship Owners Association (WSOA) is now a reality with a resolve to sustain the interests of ship owners in order to serve the global economy in an atmosphere of healthy business competition to the advantage of consumers and stakeholders.
“The new body was conceptualized and established by ship owners and players in the marine business as not just an international trade group but also as a partner to maritime bodies including the International Maritime Organization to build a sustainable marine platform for the advancement of the global economy.
“WSOA is committed to strategic collaboration with partners across the globe in order to meet the expectations of industry stakeholders by actively engaging existing and potential individual and corporate members, trade bodies and regulators.
“At the maritime round table, an interim management team to be headed by Nigeria-born Forbes billionaire and President of Slok Group, Orji Kalu, was unanimously appointed pending the election of substantive officials at the proposed Marine Conference scheduled for Greece in Q3 2017. For now, the team will be coordinating the activities of the global shipping body from Abuja, Nigeria. The team‘s mandate is to effectively drive membership and engagement of existing maritime associations across the world towards the inauguration of national and regional secretariats across the globe and advocacy visits to the United Nations agencies, African Export-Import Bank, Export- Import Bank of the United States among others. The interim team is also expected to set up steering committees for various purposes in order to run an all-inclusive and sustainable business platform
“Membership of the association will attract limitless benefits including business networking, pressure group for the advancement of shipping cause, common mentality, market intelligence, access to industry publications globally, access to policy and decision makers, human capital development, group negotiations on transactions among others”.
The structure of WSOA consists of an interim management team led by Nigerian Forbes billionaire and renowned shipping magnate, Orji Kalu (President) and supported by Romanian Forbes billionaire Gabriel Popoviciu (Treasurer), Isaac Marshall (Director, Strategy and Communications), Mr. Thomas Cheng (Head of Government and Regulatory Affairs) , Al-Fayed Hassan ( Head of Membership and Partnerships), Tiffany Richmond (Head of Administration and Legal), all serving in acting capacities. The team‘s mandate is to effectively drive membership and engagement of existing maritime associations across the world towards the inauguration of national and regional secretariats across the globe and advocacy visits to the United Nations agencies, African Export-Import Bank, Export- Import Bank of the United States among others.