The Shipping Conference Season Restarts

The Shipping Conference Season Restarts

This Friday (1 Sept 2017) sees the start of the shipping conference season with an intimate, invitation-only, event on the beautiful Greek island of Mykonos. You didn’t get an invitation? Nor did I, but don’t despair, there are over 50 other shipping-related conferences scheduled between 1 September and 31 December 2017 listed on the Shipping Research conference calendar (

The calendar includes exhibitions, shipping conferences, and that relatively new hybrid event, the shipping week. The calendar also includes conferences on commodities, which, as the cargo for ships, have a significant impact of the demand for shipping services.

The calendar is researched from the websites of event organisers, direct mail emails, and simple Google searches like “cement shipping conference”. This mimics the typical way anyone in the shipping industry would search for a conference. If your shipping conference is not listed below on the Shipping Research blog shipping events calendar (, send me a comment with a link to the website.


Figure 1 – Forthcoming Shipping Conferences

Figure 1 is a list of the conferences coming up between 1 September and the end of the year. But how do you decide which one to attend? The agenda, speakers, networking potential, and location are important, but almost certainly cost will be the main criteria employed by the person controlling the budget.  To help you decide, the conferences are ranked on a cost per day (USD) basis in Figure 2, below.


Delegate Cost per Day?

To simplify the calculation, only paid for conferences are included. The delegate fee used is that quoted on the event organiser’s website or their typical fee. Early-bird discounts are ignored. Where possible, the event discount rate for the host hotel is used or the rate on for the days of the conference.

The conference and hotel fees are converted into USD using the Google forex tool as at 8 August 2017. The resulting delegate fee and hotel cost are combined to calculate the USD per day cost. This cost per day analysis does not include flights, meals, drink, or entertainment.


Figure 2 – Conferences Ranked by Cost

Figure 2 ranks the shipping conferences from cheapest to most expensive USD per day for the combined conference fee and hotel room. The range is from USD 340 per day to attend the Argus Dry Bulk Transportation and Logistics 2017 Conference in Gelendzhik (Russia) to the USD 2,250 per day to attend the Informa Emissions Conference in Singapore.

Figure 3 – Is there a link between the subject matter and the cost per day to attend?

Figure 3 shows the conferences sorted by sector and average cost per day. That liner and dry bulk conference cost the least per day matches popular perception of the current state of those respective sectors! The tanker sector, on the other hand, is relatively benign, and there is still some activity in the market, and possibly deeper pockets.

Over the next four months, Singapore is the most popular location, followed by London, which reflects the shift in world shipping centres. Third most popular is Houston, the global centre for the offshore industry. The first shipping related conference is due to take place 11 September (Argus Methanol Conference). At this point in time, it is hard to assess the impact of Tropical Storm Harvey on the events due to take place in Houston. It may be that these events will be shifted to other locations. If so, the short URL on the calendar will take you to the new information.

One curiosity is the legacy of past shipping conferences. This has led to “date clumping”. Two dates that are outstanding. There are four conferences in Singapore (Crude Oil), London (Dry Bulk), Bahrain (Aluminium), and Algeciras (Reefers), that are due to start on 25 September. These are quite dissimilar conferences, so there is unlikely to be any delegate / speaker clashes. But 14 November has two conferences in London (Commodities, Tankers), Geneva (Major Dry Bulks), and a popular conference in New York (Ship Finance).


Ship Finance World Tour

There has been a steady growth in ship finance conferences. In the 1990s, there were only one or two ship finance events in the 1990s. Today, it is possible to attend eight ship finance events by the end of this year. If you have the budget (around USD 10,000 in fees and hotels, plus another USD 20,000 in flights) and the stamina (more than 30 hours in the air), it is now possible to fly around the world and hear the latest local ship finance opinions / options in what could be called the Ship Finance Conference World Tour. The Ship Finance Conference World Tour starts off in Singapore (19 September) before flying into Europe for the Mare Forum Rotterdam event (3 October), followed by Marine Money Athens (10 October). Then it’s off to Busan (1 November) and Jakarta (7 November) before flying into New York the following week (14 November). The next week sees the potential of some cheap Christmas shopping in Hong Kong (24 November) before a well-earned rest Curacao (1 December). See you on the beach!

Copyright – Craig Jallal


About Craig Jallal
A shipping analyst whose feels the need to comment on the industry.

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