InterManager, the trade association for in-house and third party owners and managers, has hit back at allegations that ship managers view their relationships with the banks as a way of overcharging for the benefit of their services.
Responding to an article in the May/June issue of Ship Management International entitled “Lunde slams third party managers”, Roberto Giorgi, President of InterManager, said that ship managers, like banks and any other service providers, were not in the business of screwing their clients to the end of the world “as the quote suggests”.
In a letter to the magazine he asserts that shipmanagement has now gained respect among all players of the shipping world, and like any other business activity, needs to be run on a profitable, yet professional basis, based on the value it adds to its clients.
“While we understand that the article reflects correctly the comments made by Dagfinn Lunde at a public conference, we also understand that they may have been taken out of their context. Nevertheless, the very negative perception that he portrays of third party ship managers necessitates that InterManager sets the record straight,” he said.
Mr Giorgi added: “InterManager’s members and many other ship managers have invested considerable time and effort in increasing the transparency and the quality of the services they offer and are subject to rigorous assessments by clients, independent auditors and other parties. InterManager has created a Code of Ethics for the profession, and this code is endorsed by all members of InterManager (representing a substantial portion of the industry), which undertake to follow the rules of the Code of Ethics or risk dismissal from the Association.
“In addition, we are, on behalf of all our members, continuing to invest in the development of a series of rigorous KPIs that will benefit all industry stakeholders and contribute to improved professionalism and greater transparency of the sector at large. Other efforts are also being applied in order to improve the sense of governance and social responsibility of shipmanagers in the environment of the whole shipping world.”
Mr Giorgi went further: “With specific regard to ship managers working with banks, we would further point out that there are many instances where ship managers have been called on in the event of a potential client default and have served the needs of the banks, crew and suppliers very professionally, often under extremely difficult circumstances.
“We would like to point out that most banks have now included in their list of covenants attached to their loan term sheets, a condition that the ship be professionally managed by reputable shipmanagers: this, in itself, is a recognition that the banking industry has a greater respect for our profession than the above unfortunate comments seem to indicate.
“While we believe that Dagfinn Lunde as a highly respected figure in the international shipping industry is entitled to his opinion, we also believe that on this occasion the negative and potentially highly damaging perception he portrays is totally unfounded.
“It is worth remembering that ship management, whether supplied in-house or third party, is a profession in its own right. It has now gained respect among all players of the shipping world, and like any other business activity, needs to be run on a profitable, yet professional basis, based on the value it adds to its clients,” he stressed.