Celebrating innovation and anticipating change

Celebrating innovation and anticipating change

Thinking positively: the first of many IHS DPC Award winners. Credit: Dean O'Brien/IHS Markit

Thinking positively: the first of many IHS DPC Award winners. Credit: Dean O'Brien/IHS Markit

It’s nice to be proved right.

IHS DPC knew there were great companies in the marine engineering sector creating excellent and innovative vessels, products and services. We thought it was time to highlight and celebrate that @ihsdpcawards.com

So we set out to create an occasion worthy of the industry: a rigorous competition to select the ‘best of the best’ followed by an awards dinner to celebrate such achievements.

From the comments received – and overheard – we achieved exactly that. So we plan to do it again next year, because this industry continues to innovate and next year’s winners are waiting to be highlighted.

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It’s unusual to be proved totally wrong.

Like most observers of the American elections, I thought it unlikely that Republican candidate Donald Trump would beat Democrat selection Hilary Clinton. After all, one was a political outsider, the other the archetypal insider. Both were equally disliked by large percentages of the voting population. So the status quo would probably prevail.

Wrong.

In what may come to be seen as a central reinforcement of an anti-globalisation trend, business as usual was suspended with Trump’s victory. So where does this leave commerce and industry, which have been pursuing global reach for the past 30 years and more? What will it mean for maritime and trade?

Just days after the result, there are still more questions than answers.

Will Trump scrap free trade deals such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the still to be signed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)?

Will he impose tariffs on Chinese and Mexican goods? And reduce them on Russian ones?

What about the Cuban ‘thaw’ – will that be reversed?

Given his anti-Muslin pronouncements, he is likely to revoke the Obama-mediated sanctions easement with Iran. That would have knock-on effects on that country's imports, exports, and insurance risks and on wider global trading patterns. 

Trump has said he will tax imports and put an end to regulation. All of this throws shipping, and therefore ports and port projects, into doubt. The only certainty is that the Jones Act will stay, because it fits with his reported nationalistic and protectionist views.

He has promised to invest in infrastructure to create jobs. Roads, bridges, and airports have specifically been highlighted, but little to nothing has been mentioned about ports or harbours. Will he raid the Harbor Tax monies to pay for his policies? Where will the US Army Corp of Engineers' budgets be this time next year? And, since he has little time for the environmental viewpoint and has plans to slash funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, will there be knock-on effects on environmentally sensitive dredging projects?

There are many more questions but, as he prepares to take up the presidency in January, the only certainty is that 2017 is likely to see domestic and global change and upheavals.

I could play the prediction game but, just like 99% of other commentators, I will – again be wrong.

Tweet the editor at @LisaMaher10 or email dpc@ihs.com