First light at the end of this long, dark tunnel was seen only towards the end of last year with the news that a vaccine had been developed and that its distribution was underway. This is good news for us all and offers a ray of hope that we will emerge from this pandemic sooner rather than later.
In 2021, both ISSA and OCEAN will tentatively look to new horizons, brought about by an eventual return to face-to-face contact and greater business uptake. It is only appropriate that our minds should turn to new opportunities that may lie ahead.
We learned this year how digitalisation and smart technology can help bring us together across borders, time zones and other barriers. One example is that ISSA and OCEAN meetings are being held, and will continue to be held for most of the year, very successfully online through the virtual sphere. This has meant that more members than before have able to take part, at no cost to themselves and from the comfort of their living rooms and kitchen offices.
Embracing modern technology has allowed us to maintain our excellent relations with our legislators, at global and European level alike. In Europe, OCEAN’s important work to reform the ship supply guidance, in close collaboration with the European Commission, will progress in 2021 thanks to our ability to meet and discuss virtually, and share thoughts in speech and paper, even though we are miles apart. ISSA’s excellent virtual webinar event held towards the end of 2020, that looked at the role of ship supply in dealing with Inventory of Hazardous Materials (IHM) responsibilities, is yet another testimony to that.
As we look ahead to 2021, ISSA and OCEAN’s agendas are pretty full.
We know that the digital revolution that started in 2020 will continue to play a role this year. In 2021, we expect the ISSA App to bring the workings of the association to your phone or tablet at the touch of a screen. ISSA’s new Provisions and Ship Stores catalogues are also digital. If you would like a copy, then please email the ISSA secretariat firstname.lastname@example.org
For OCEAN, 2021 allows us to look back and to look forward. Looking back, Europeans are proud to have contributed to the integration of European ship supply industry over the last 45 years. Looking forward, even though the UK has left the political institution of the EU, we are very proud to have the British Association of Ship Suppliers (BASS), our friends and business partners of the United Kingdom, continue to actively engage with us on all matters ship supply going forward.
We hope to meet as many of you as possible in person soonest and share a drink or two to toast ISSA and OCEAN and all our resilience in getting through this most difficult year.