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Thursday 20 March 2014

Southampton Solent University Maritime Conference

Rising fuel costs, new technologies and globalisation were recurrent themes at Southampton Solent University’s Maritime Conference 2014.

Now in its fourth year, the annual conference provides excellent opportunities for staff and students from the University’s maritime courses to hear from industry experts on a range of maritime issues.

During his welcome, Professor John Chudley, Dean of the Maritime and Technology Faculty, highlighted Solent’s success in producing graduates with the skills to make them successful in industry; and spoke of the importance of partnerships between staff and students, the city and industry.

This year’s Conference welcomed guest speakers from several areas of the industry including Clarkson Research, Maritime London, the P&I Club UK, the Maritime Coastguard Agency, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics UK and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport.

Doug Barrow, chief executive of Maritime London argued that London is an excellent maritime centre because it is a one-stop-shop for maritime business, and concluded that maritime centres needed to cooperate, not compete.

Dr Martin Stopford, author of ‘Maritime Economics’ gave an overview of world shipping today and looked at its future. He outlined the four big industry trends: the end of cheap fossil fuels leading to new technologies; increased mechanisation improving efficiency, particularly in undeveloped regions, such as Africa; information technology (IT); and globalisation, aided by IT and investment.

He warned that open registries were creating a stateless industry; one that needs global action to counteract problem areas, such as piracy.

Final-year maritime operation students were also given the opportunity to showcase their work in the form of poster presentations, which generated discussion and interest with the conference speakers.

Dr Kate Pike, Senior Research Fellow and conference co-ordinator said, “This conference provides many benefits for the students, including the chance to make valuable contacts and network with future employers, and the opportunity to listen to a wide range of excellent speakers discussing current maritime issues. The conference is always one of the highlights of the year for our students and provides a realistic view of the industry they will be working in.”