By promoting business transparency, fair government rules, and sustainability, the shipping professor and delegate to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) seeks to advance prosperity and open discussion in the Ocean Space
Orestis Schinas is looking out for the future of the ocean and its health. In his role as a International Maritime Organization representative, he works to find solutions for important policies such as the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals.
In his policy work, Orestis has learned that certain ways of thinking slow progress of regulation based on "pure scientific and technical grounds." As an example, he cites the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities Act which states that developed countries must take greater responsibilities than developing countries based on their historically greater contribution to pollution.
"Certain concepts and principles, such as of the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR), impede the progress of regulation based on pure scientific and technical grounds and foster a trade-off among Member States that water down actions and initiatives the industry should take in order to save the planet from over-warming."
"In my view, we need clear goals and objectives," he said. "We need strict, global and leveled regulation, in order to save the oceans and the planet."
Policy work, and the politics that inevitably come up during their application, is an area of expertise for Orestis, who is Ocean Influencer on OceanHub. Besides his role at the IMO, Orestis is also a Professor of Shipping and Ship Finance at the Hamburg School of Business Administration, where he encourages his students "to question, to doubt, to challenge established ideas and practices" while encouraging Innovation, development and progress.
As an OceanHub Influencer, Orestis Schinas is sharing his knowledge on strategic and industry wide topics that he hopes will intrigue readers to think outside of the box. As a OceanHub member, Orestis also appreciates reading Articles from his fellow OceanHub influencers who can "challenge my views or add a new perspective." For his own Articles, he encourages the OceanHub community to provide him with constructive feedback as he builds his own influence in the Ocean Space. Besides his work on OceanHub, Orestis' writing and research has been published in several esteemed academic publications including the Journal of Ocean Engineering and Transportation Research.
About Orestis Chinas He has academic degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering, shipping management and ship finance. His professional background includes engineering work and he has earned a reputation as a general maritime expert in large R&D, commercial and corporate projects. More recently, Orestis' work has focused on ‘greening’ and business development projects. He is the permanent representative of Comoros to the International Maritime Organization and is engaged in commercial projects, mainly in the field of asset acquisition and financial planning. In 2008 Orestis was elected and appointed as Professor of Shipping and Ship Finance at the Hamburg School of Business Administration.
Read Orestis' latest OceanHub Articles by visiting his Profile. To learn more about Orestis, read through his answers to the profile questions below
I have gathered experiences in many and diverse fields, from shipbuilding and ship-repair to ship-finance and business development. I usually contribute expertise towards bridging technical and financial aspects in demanding projects. Recently I have gained experiences in ‘greening’ projects and in policy making, as I am closely following and attending relevant IMO sessions.
Originally I come from Greece; currently I am living in Hamburg where I am the Head of the Maritime & Logistics Department as well as of the course MBA-Shipping Programme at the Hamburg School of Business Administration (HSBA) Moreover, I am the Permanent Representative of Comoros at the IMO and engaged in commercial projects, mainly in the field of asset acquisition and financial planning.
I have academic degrees in naval architecture and marine engineering, shipping management and ship finance. I have gained experiences as an engineer and generally maritime expert in large R&D, commercial and corporate projects and lately my work focusses on ‘greening’ and business development projects. In 2008 I was elected and appointed as Professor of Shipping and Ship Finance at the HSBA.
My goal is to contribute short texts that will intrigue the reader to think outside of the box! I believe that blogging is about stating opinions and sparking discussions. I will focus mainly on strategic and industry-wide topics, concentrating on the ‘why’ instead of the ‘how’. In most cases, I feel that blogs deal with tactical or technical issues, such as ‘how to comply’, and they miss the rational or the reasoning of a new challenge, such as of a new regulation.
I hope to communicate my ideas to many peers and colleagues and to get constructive comments. I also hope to read texts and commends that will challenge my views or add a new perspective. The goal is no other than increasing the visibility of my thoughts and work.
The industry needs a specialised platform for the exchange of ideas. The maritime community needs fresh ideas and infiltration of concepts and practices from other industries too. Mainstream media focus on news and reports, while ideas and comments are generally avoided. This is the gap I hope OH can fill.
Transparency is critical to attract financing nowadays. Ships were traditionally and reasonably financed by a mix of equity and loan (plain vanillas). Nevertheless, recent trends in banking regulation demand more transparency and (more) thorough risk assessment, therefore shipping companies with deep pockets and transparent structures will qualify and drain the lending capacity of the banking system. Moreover, modern non-conventional tonnage, business and technological start-ups depend on financial engineering, where transparency is a precondition for investors.
We are already in the era of big data! Modern ships are platforms of sensors and therefore there is a wealth of data. Just think of the level of automation and the number of sensors currently installed onboard vis-a-vis 10 or 20 years ago! Few companies have the capacity or even the expertise of extracting valuable information out of the myriad data generated and stored everyday. Therefore modern shipping companies should elaborate a strategy in order to make efficient use of these data, the very same way as shipping companies implemented the ISM Code that extended the limits of liability and changed the industry significantly three decades ago. There is no need to disseminate commercial or sensitive information; there is also a rather strict framework on data protection. However, think of an application where along with AIS data, information on the freeboard available was also provided. Such an application could support chartering and employment decisions as well as strategies towards increase of the utilisation of the ships thus reducing their carbon-footprint. Companies revealing more elements -more transparent- could attract the interest of both tonnage users and technology suppliers, thus making the business case or the operator more ‘known’ and therefore appealing to investors.
Considering the framework of the UN and of the Law of the Sea, IMO is a very efficient platform with many successes at the technical level. Undoubtedly, the instruments of SOLAS, MARPOL, LL, etc. targeted in most cases to causes and improved safety in the industry. However, as policy requirement evolve, IMO and the Member States are dealing with highly political issues, such as the application of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and more specifically with hot potatoes, such as air emissions and governance of the oceans. Concepts and principles, such as of the Common But Differentiated Responsibilities (CBDR) impede the progress of regulation based on pure scientific and technical grounds and foster a trade-off among Member States that water down actions and initiatives the industry should take in order to save the planet from over-warming. In my view, we need clear goals and objectives, strict, global and levelled regulation, in order to save the oceans and the planet.
All of our students have solid business experiences before enrollment; it is a requirement. Therefore their questions at the beginning of the course are mainly ‘ship-oriented’, i.e. predominately focused on ship management, finance and generally on conventional business models. Many students ask about challenges of the industry, with a special interest on environment, technology, finance and international business. Interestingly enough at the end of the course, their focus is shifted on topics like start-ups, financial innovation and sustainability. They realise the need of disruption and the necessity of thinking holistically. Therefore most of their concerns boil down to finding the appropriate path for their future; it can be a new job or a more interesting job or even plans for new business. Most of their plans focus on technology or finding new ways to harness existing networks; many of the students test the water when preparing their final thesis. We have already many graduates, who contributed very positively to their businesses with fresh ideas, and others who set up their own entities.
Moreover, I would like to contribute some ‘food for thought’, question concepts and introduce ideas, with the sole goal of provoking comments and hopefully constructive criticism!