Club call to reach out to Asian shipowners

Some Asian shipowners feel frustrated and powerless to influence changes which affect them on issues such as bulk carrier strength or the International Shipmanagement Code, a shipping executive says.

Robert Ho, president of Fairmont Shipping (HK) and vice-chairman of the London Protection & Indemnity (P&I) Club, said some P&I clubs could and should do more to encourage Asian owners to tackle these issues by strengthening their presence in Asia.

Writing in the latest issue of the London Club newsletter, Mr Ho said: 'Existing clubs must think locally, and reach out more to where the tonnage is owned.' Mr Ho said while Asian owners had always been reluctant to take a high profile in international organisations, the clubs could do more to encourage them to come to the forefront.

Cultural exchanges could be encouraged by setting up stronger secondment programmes.

'We should see more people from Asia working in the club head offices, and that would help owners in the region to identify with the clubs,' Mr Ho said.

He said there should be more contact between clubs at member and owner level rather than at managerial level.

Mr Ho said he would like to find ways to mobilise the power of shipowners in the clubs.

He supported the Asian Shipowners Forum in its push for an international group supervisory board of shipowners, comprising the chairmen of different clubs with common set objectives.