Clay Maitland

On a quest for quality in shipping

Quality? …. Far too expensive!

If you so desire, you can send 20 tons of cargo all the way from Antwerp to Shanghai, or, indeed, from the Chinese superport to North Europe, for less than the price of sending one person in economy class in an aeroplane. I was listening to a French shipowner last week Francis Vallat, speaking at the BIMCO 39 meeting in Paris, noting that when marine transport was concerned, the cost of transport “has ceased to count”. Continue reading

Things to do next year

Many of us are compulsive list makers and I’m no exception as lists become more important as memory falters. So, with New Year resolutions little more than a month away, here are a few things for the shipping industry to think about in the upcoming year. There is no particular order and only 20, so you might think, ambitiously, that there is room for more. Continue reading

No visibility

How can we ever interest journalists and so-called “opinion-formers” in the maritime industry? It is a question that arises quite often, but no satisfactory answer ever emerges. Perhaps you can offer them prizes and awards for brilliant writing about our industry? After all, “Travel Writer or Financial Writer of the Year” seems to attract kudos. Continue reading

Posturing in Venezuela

Considering the febrile relationship between Venezuela and the United States, the problems afflicting the crew of the US flag heavy lift ship Ocean Atlas might not be considered too much of a surprise. Continue reading

Speeding into danger

The centenary of the sinking of the Titanic on Sunday 15th April is being attended with a curious combination of reverence and the absurd. Continue reading

Lessons learned again?

April is said to be the cruelest month. It is memorable for disasters, from the Titanic to Texas City, Deepwater Horizon and so on. Continue reading

Quality squeeze as rates fall

As more ship operators call in the friendly receiver as the grim shadow of overcapacity falls over most shipping sectors, should we be surprised if standards start to diminish? Continue reading

Does industry lack integrity when it comes to dangerous cargo safety?

Shipping industry conspicuously silent about Vinalines Queen death toll Continue reading

Things to fix.

It is, of course, too early to be making pronouncements about the grounding of the Costa Concordia, while the courageous divers are still probing the underwater horrors of a huge capsized ship. Continue reading

The Pavit – a 21st Century Marie Celeste?

Maritime history buffs may remember the story of the Marie Celeste, a sailing ship found abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean, which seemingly had managed to sail for months without reaching land, and whose crew were mysteriously absent. To this day, her mystery remains the subject of speculation. Continue reading

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