In this context, we have asked Mrs. Despina Panayiotou Theodosiou who is joint Chief Executive Officer of TOTOTHEO MARITIME and also President of WISTA International, to make an assessment of 2020 from her perspective and share her message for the new year across the global community. Among others, she highlights that we are going to see many changes due to digitalisation and automation.
I would like shipping to learn from other industries about the breakdown of silos and how sustainability creates opportunity
SAFETY4SEA: Focusing on your area of expertise, what were the most important industry development(s) within 2020?
Despina Theodosiou: In light of the impact of COVID-19, one of the key developments that has been industry- and society- wide, is the trust we have seen being placed on technology for remote communications, remote monitoring and other services. In a period of need we have seen the digitalisation developments that have been highlighted for three or four years before 2020 suddenly find themselves in demand, and importantly showing they are capable of doing the job. Shipping no longer doubts digitalisation, now it has proven its value.
S4S: Focusing on your area of expertise, what do you think that will be the biggest challenge(s) for the industry in 2021?
D.Th.: As we see society revert back to normal, or maybe a new normal, we need to retain our focus on the long-term sustainability goals. There are political upheavals that threaten this, along with national responses to the Covid-19 pandemic that will understandably make countries want to focus on their people. But we should be encouraged to do both simultaneously. Our recovery from 2020 needs to go hand in hand with our preparations for the future.
S4S: What would be the 2021 resolutions for your company/organisation?
D.Th.: Our resolutions are more than just for the New Year but are focused on how we engage with our clients and the industry. I think it is as important as ever for companies and individuals to be honest, transparent and collaborative. As with every New Year we at Tototheo Maritime have re-energised and set to continue our great work with our partners who actively seek the best digital tools to help with their transformation.
S4S: What is your overall forecast for shipping industry in 2021 and what would you like to share and/or wish and/or ask other industry stakeholders?
D.Th.: I would like to focus on the idea of further collaboration in our industry, both with partners and with others. We have challenges in shipping that cannot be met by retaining existing silos, fears and the ways of doing business that have been around for 200 years and more. The only constant is change. We will see continuous change for many years as digitalisation and automation are found to create added value for business partnerships and operations. We will see the decarbonisation discussions, and those around a wider sustainability debate intensify, and we will see shipping become an integrated part of the logistics and data flows in society and no longer an industry silo that can operate under its own belief of being left alone to do what it has always been doing.
The views presented hereabove are only those of the author and do not necessarily those of SAFETY4SEA and are for information sharing and discussion purposes only.