Research Activity Digest

Indjikian moderates Shipping Market Update Session at TXF Global Commodity Finance 2020 Conference

On 5 November 2020, Dr. Rouben Indjikian moderated the session on problems and prospects of shipping industry in these difficult times. Panellists included Jan Hoffmann, Chief, Trade Logistics Branch of UNCTAD (who made a short presentation); Richard Watts, Managing Director HR Maritime, Geneva based consultancy on international trade and shipping, and Barry Stimpson, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs, global law firm, active in commodities and shipping.

While opening the session Dr. Indjikian stressed that shipping is one of the key backbones of global supply chains taking care of more than 80% of transportation of global merchandise exports, which itself represents around one quarter of world GDP. Production and exploitation of ships represent highly capital intensive and technologically advanced economic activities, involving a multitude of interdependent players, permitting consumers to have access to goods coming from all over the world. Coronavirus pandemic hit hard the movement of people and related services. Movement of goods was affected to lesser extent with fuel commodities trade experiencing the sharpest contraction.

Jan Hoffmann presented the main trends in shipping before, during and after Covid. According to him, carriers benefit from bigger call sizes and vessel sizes, ports are confronted with higher peak-demand, while shippers are confronted with less choice and frequencies. Meantime digitalization of shipping was moving quite fast and pandemic has further pushed it posing new challenges in that respect. Further decarbonization of shipping is on agenda and it is important to assess is from an investor’s perspective. Negative externalities from shipping activities also include noise, pollution, accidents, oil spills, congestion in ports. Polluting less, cleaning up and compensation should be among the responsibilities of the industry. Industry initiatives to develop and introduce a levy for carbon emissions is a commendable initiative in Hoffmann’s view.

Richard Watts and Barry Stimpson also expressed their views on above issues, and on regulations establishing level playing field to tame sulphur oxide emissions and other aspects of shipping industry sustainable mode of operation. Industry players are continuing defining modus operandi between themselves such as clauses on delays and costs sharing limit on cargo. How it is tested by Covid 19 and what are the prospects for self-regulation for charterers, shipowners and other shipping industry players were also among issues discussed.

Finally, panellists exchanged views on how actors in industry cope with Coronavirus-related challenges, including those to change crews, quarantines being pushed on vessels arriving in ports, replacing hard copies with electronic documents and further digitalization in shipping supply chains.

The conference program can be found here.

Dr. Indjikian can also be heard speaking on the Scientific Sense podcast in July here.


Glaveanu Invited to Consultations on Creativity and the Future of Education

Vlad Glaveanu, Head of the Psychology and Counselling Department at Webster Geneva Campus and Director of the Webster Centre for the Science of Creativity and Innovation (WCCI) has been invited to take part in various expert consultations concerning creativity and the future of education. On the 29th, 30th September and 1st of October, Dr. Glaveanu took part in a series of workshops organised by the International Baccalaureate (IB) with the aim of advancing the learning, teaching, monitoring and assessment of student curiosity and creativity in their global community of 5000 schools. Over these three days scholars, IB teachers and school leaders participated in ‘design laboratory’ discussions about how i) to best define and evidence learner proficiency in both curiosity and creativity, and to ii) propose a suitable format for recording this evidence so that it can be used in school contexts.

To maximise the events success, the symposium was supported by a facilitation firm whose recent partners have included UNICEF, World Economic Forum, MIT and Harvard’s Project Zero. In addition, Dr. Glaveanu will take part on the 11th of December in a stakeholder meeting, facilitated by SIETAR Switzerland, for the UNESCO initiative the Futures of Education. UNESCO has invited organizations and networks to mobilize their stakeholders and partners to conduct focus group consultation sessions on the futures of education. The insights gained through focus group discussions will be synthesized for UNESCO’s International Commission on the Futures of Education and will help to shape the global debate on this timely topic.