This February 21-23 saw the much anticipated return of our signature Anglo-Eastern Mumbai Conference – a three-day networking and knowledge-sharing extravaganza for officers, owners, and managers. The global pandemic may have held us back for four years, but there was no stopping us this time from hosting our biggest, boldest, and best conference yet!
A sight to behold and a resounding success, it was clear that people were excited to be back and to have an occasion to come together, learn, share, and celebrate. The event did not disappoint.
Appropriately themed “Stronger Together”, the Mumbai Conference saw a record turnout of 1,000 officers, over 100 owner representatives and guests, plus a large contingent of our own senior executives and managers for our strongest showing to date. Despite the immense logistical challenges, our Mumbai team remained unfazed, managing every detail seemingly effortlessly.
Even before the first day of the conference, the Grand Hyatt Mumbai conference floor was abuzz with activity, since “day zero” was reserved for owners who wished to hold breakaway seminars with their officers ahead of the main event, chiefly Ardmore, CMB, Fednav, Hapag-Lloyd, INSW, KC Maritime, Maersk, Petredec and Saga.
Later that same afternoon, for the first time, a friendly cricket match between a couple of the owner fleets was organised at a nearby venue. Fednav and Ardmore squared off in the heat, with Fednav taking the lead to bag the trophy. In the evening, early client and guest arrivals were invited to an informal cocktail reception held at the hotel’s poolside lawn, which was a nice opportunity to mingle.
Day one unveiled an entirely different look and feel. The main ballroom, no longer subdivided into seminar rooms, had been transformed into an imposing hall with a stage running across its width, three massive TV displays on the facing wall, tables at the front, plus row after row of seats to accommodate 1,000 people. At the back were AV booths from which a team of professionals were tasked with managing the ‘show’ – and what a production it was!
Once everyone was seated in the darkened hall, the event kicked off with a dramatic video set to a booming audio track that filled the entire room, complete with synchronised lighting that warranted an epilepsy warning. The audience was awed into silence by the show, which felt like an epic movie. After the impressive display, full attention went to the suddenly lit stage, where the emcee exuberantly welcomed the audience.
CEO Bjorn Hojgaard was the first speaker to take to the podium, delivering a poignant opening address that reflected on the challenges of recent years and the golden opportunities that lie ahead. Next was chief guest and chief surveyor Ajith Sukumaran of India’s Directorate General of Shipping. In his inaugural address, Mr Sukumaran spoke eloquently about India’s strengths, potential, and contributions to shipping. The first presentation of the day was delivered by Capt. Pradeep Chawla, who reviewed the group’s quality assurance and training performance. He also took the opportunity to announce his retirement this summer, with this therefore being his last Mumbai Conference as group managing director of QHSE and training. Capt. Chawla thanked Anglo-Eastern and was warmly applauded by the appreciative audience, who have come to know him well over the many years he has been with the group.
Next up were a series of external guest speakers, commencing with rear admiral Wayne Arguin of the US Coast Guard. Dressed in full military uniform, the assistant commandant for prevention policy spoke about the USCG’s expectations for masters and chief engineers when calling on US ports.
After a short refreshment break, Nick Potter of Shell took to the podium to talk about the future of vetting and maritime assurance. He was followed by Prashanth Athipar of BHP, who presented a charterer’s perspective on sustainable maritime supply chains. Continuing the themes of safety and sustainability was Steen Lund, CEO of RightShip.
After breaking for a sumptuous buffet lunch, the audience was in for another treat: surprise guest speaker Leander Paes. Widely regarded as one of the greatest doubles tennis players of all time, and holder of the most doubles wins in the Davis Cup, Mr Paes spoke to the theme of “Stronger Together” by discussing his journey and the importance of teamwork, coaching, and perseverance. His motivating words resonated with the audience, especially the many officers in attendance, who rose from their seats to give him a standing ovation.
With the post-lunch slump abated, it was back to business, with Capt. Vinay Singh presenting a review and outlook of AngloEastern’s crewing performance. This was followed by an overview of three key areas for future-proofing the business: Decarbonisation, Digital Transformation, and Sustainable Crewing. More on that later!
With the day nearing a close it was time for the usual open forum between sea and shore management, which has always been a welcome opportunity for both sides to hear from each other, to better understand issues, and to take on board suggestions for improvement. Last but not least was the presentation of long-service awards, which saw numerous officers awarded for their loyalty and dedication.
The first day talks may have concluded, but the day itself was far from over, for in the evening was the Mumbai Conference’s customary gala dinner – a grand affair for officers, their families, clients, guests, and managers. Besides another lavish buffet, there was a family zone where officers could take their children for games and activities, while the main ballroom was again transformed into a venue for exciting live shows, music and dancing.
Day two (for those who survived the night before!) was divided into two streams. Officers were invited to a series of in-house talks on a broad range of topics, from psychological safety, social media and claims handling to alternative fuels, environmental regulations and the future of learning, plus more. At the same time, clients and guests were escorted to Leela Business Park for a tour of the new fleet performance centre and recently relocated and updated training centre.
After lunch, a special interactive session was organised back at the hotel. Led by COO Carsten Ostenfeldt, CIO Torbjorn Dimblad and Capt. Singh, respectively, with support from their teams, each theme of Decarbonisation, Digital Transformation and Sustainable Crewing was allocated its own display zone staffed by in-house subject matter experts. This allowed clients to explore and deep-dive as they wished, with the option to view demos and discuss topics in a smaller group setting, before a common Q&A session to wrap up the day.
In the evening, a private dinner gathering for clients and guests was held at the hotel’s poolside lawn, which saw many attendees dress up in traditional Indian attire for an evening of mingling, fun, music, and cultural entertainment.
Day three was all about AEMA. Clients and guests were picked up early from the hotel for the two-hour drive to the Anglo-Eastern Maritime Academy in Karjat, where they were given the red-carpet treatment from the moment they set foot on campus. Following the initial reception held in the auditorium, the visitors were taken on a grand tour of the extensive grounds and various cadet projects, before taking part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to inaugurate the new machine workshop (transferred from AEMTC Mumbai).
Finally, the visitors were escorted to the academy’s canteen, where they enjoyed a magnificent sit-down meal prepared and served by the talented onsite food and beverage team. Full of good food and a wealth of lasting memories, the well-sated visitors were then driven back to the hotel in Mumbai, thus concluding another exceptional Mumbai Conference, if not our best one to date!
- Separate seminars for junior officers and ratings
- Grand opening of the new shared services office
- Anglo-Eastern Women of Seas (AWOS) inaugural workshop
- First women’s networking event for Mumbai shore staff
- Tour of various Anavi projects