Hamburg, Germany, 01.02.2023, 18:19 Uhr

Wolfgang Sump

OCEAN in 2023

Change on The Horizon To Strengthen our Association

Wolfgang Sump, Chair of the OCEAN Board, on how starting the road of change in 2023 is an opportunity for European ship supply.

John F. Kennedy. famously said, "Change is the law of life, and those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future". 

He couldn't have said it better to describe 2023 for OCEAN. As an association, we must consider what is to be done immediately and shortly and also take stock, time and space to think what will be in the future. 

How will we run OCEAN in five years when we turn 50? What is our answer to broader societal and economic changes that affect our industry? This is a somewhat less tangible debate that only immediately leads to action and is difficult to grasp. It is about vision and direction. But it is also about the way to get there. It is about a road map, an action plan. This debate is underway in OCEAN and is scheduled to get more accurate in 2023

I expect 2023 to be a year of adjustment and change for OCAN, with some significant milestones to be achieved.

The most significant development will be the adoption of our AGENDA.50 and the start of its implementation. A Working Group, composed of Costantino Zavoianni, Carl Forsman, Jens Olsen, and myself, prepared a vision paper titled "Agenda.50" that outlines OCEAN's top goals for the following years. We presented the first draft throughout the summer of It is my 2022 and discussed it during the 2022 fall Board meeting. The Board instructed me to give an updated draft version (V2) and design a preliminary action plan - transforming the priorities into goals and measurable targets. OCEAN Members have come together in an extraordinary Board meeting in February 2023 to debate the project and the vision. I hope we can adopt it at the Paris Board Meeting and set the path for OCEAN into a bright future. What could be our "Paris Declaration" – would be a transparent and binding guideline for OCEAN until our 50th anniversary in 2026. It would set us on a course of change that will make OCEAN fit for 50.

Our main political target for 2023 – after our successful work on the Ship Supply Guidance – is to work on the necessary amendments of the Union Customs Code so that the daily grind of the EU Shipsupply industry can be in complete line with the legal provisions of the UCC. Our Working Group on Customs, Excise, VAT, Veterinary and Taxation (CEVVT), with Fernando Pinto in the chair, is the proper forum for this task.

To have an even stronger position in our political work in Brussels, we will have to look for more strategic alliances. Our first meetings with CLIA (Cruise Line International Association) Europe were a good start. We will continue to go down this road.                                                                      

Another milestone is my farewell from OCEAN after a busy period of 33 years on the OCEAN Board and three years of your Chairman. However, I can leave with an excellent feeling, as OCEAN will remain in good hands. That is not only our very professional team in Brussels with Dr. Karsten Maier and Sylviane Bruneel, our London Secretariat with Sean Moloney and Yvonne Paul, and last but not least, Arne Mielken, who is the political brain of our organization. On top of that, we have a very active and enthusiastic team of Board members, and we will finally decide on the future key position during our elections in Paris.

Colleagues, Friends

In ship supply, we all know about the change. Change is – in many ways – the only constant. We embrace it, manage it, and draw strength from it. We adapt as we have always done. So, bring it on. Bring on 2023. We are ready. OCEAN is ready.

I am confident that OCEAN is on the right path to a bright future.