MUMBAI: Indian Register of Shipping (IRClass), International Association of Classification Society (IACS) member, has shown resilience amidst uncertainty in the maritime sector.
Most organisations continue to struggle in this current downturn, and many in the industry are bracing themselves for another challenging year ahead.
But what goes down must come up and if we see this as a way of the market correcting itself - weeding out the less efficient and less competitive players to encourage consolidation and improve current practices – then we must believe that the market is going through this necessary change to become stronger to successfully ride the next wave of change.
We at IRClass believe that we can overcome these difficult times and as we take this time to restructure and build up our capabilities, we believe that we will emerge from these difficult times stronger than before.
Looking back at 2016, there have been few positives.
Year on year 9% growth in tonnage - IRClass has seen an increase of tonnage under its class by over 1 million GT to 12.1 Million GT during the calendar year 2016, of which almost half of the tonnage added were foreign flagged vessels. We are confident that this number will continue to grow in 2017 as we continue to expand.
Recognition by the EU - On 1st August 2016, the European Commission adopted a decision granting recognition to IRClass in accordance with Regulation (EC) No. 391/2009 of the European Parliament. With this, IRClass joins the elite group of classification societies recognized by the EU, and this approval paves the way for IRClass to access the significant European market.
New regional office in Hong Kong - We are pleased to have set up the new regional office in Hong Kong to serve the dynamic East Asia region. This office is located in Hong Kong’s central business district and its areas of responsibility include the southern provinces of The People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Pacific Island Nations and the US Territory of Guam & Saipan.
Launch of new website and mobile app - IRClass continues to be customer focused and has made information readily available to its customers and stakeholders with the launch of a newly designed and easy-to-navigate website. In keeping with the times, IRClass has also launched its mobile application for Android and iOS platforms in September this year. Both platforms were built with the users in mind; with a simple and logical flow of information providing users the information they seek in the quickest and most efficient way. The website and the mobile apps will be frequently updated with information and where necessary – the software will be upgraded as well.
Oman, Nigeria and Lebanon flag states authorises IRClass as ‘RO’ - The number of flag states which have approved IRClass as a Recognised Organisation also grew from 26 to 29 during this period marking the growing acceptance of IRClass globally.
Our efforts in 2016 underlie our commitment to the market and with restructuring exercise recently completed, IRClass is now well prepared to deal with the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead in 2017.
Looking ahead in 2017 We have seen accelerated growth across our key markets and will continue to access newer markets in line with our growth strategy while continuing to be part of ensuring the preservation of life and property at seas and on shore.
Increased IRClass Academy presence in SEA - To raise standards and quality of personnel in the industry - training is the way forward. We will continue to invest in training and boost our presence in the training sector particularly in the Middle East & South East Asia.
Advisory Committees - Through the valuable insights that we gained from the various advisory committees we set up in UAE, India, and Singapore in 2015, it has helped provide a fresh perspective and direction to the management.
We appreciate the dialogue and feedback with the industry leaders who represent on our committee to offer advice and recommendation for IRClass’ progress and this is an initiative which we will continue to promote fervently.
RO approvals in the EU - Our clients can expect our network of survey offices to expand substantially in the New Year. With our EU approval and our sights set on new markets – we will be closer to our customers in more countries come 2018.
Embarking on more research partnerships - Conducting research studies is another way on how IRClass can play a part in meeting the requirement of the industry.
In 2017, we will be taking a more proactive approach in accepting more research partnerships projects – as we see the outcome of such research instrumental for the development of new and improved classification rules and guidelines. We look forward to customers’ collaborations with IRClass in ensuring a safe, secure, sustainable and efficient shipping. 2016 was no doubt a challenging year, and we would like to thank our customers and staff for their continued support. We intend to make 2017 a momentous year as we strive towards becoming one of the world’s leading global classification societies and of course a Class by Choice.