Aronnax: Technology and the future of shipping with WISTA

The World Maritime Technology Conference took place in Copenhagen from April 26th to April 28th 2022 (It should have taken place last year but the pandemic put things on hold).

During the event five members of WISTA (Women’s International Shipping and Trading Association) Technology and Futures Committee were in the audience and taking part in sessions. I cornered them for 20 minutes to talk about where WISTA stands today and the difference it is, and can make.


Around the table are:


Federica Maiorano (WISTA Monaco) SpotShip

Sofia Fürstenberg Stott (WISTA Sweden) Fürstenberg Maritime Advisory

Beverley Mackenzie (WISTA UK) BIMCO

Jocelyn Hansen (WISTA Denmark) Searoutes

Katia Corfini (WISTA Italy) Goversilia

Episode transcript

Hello and welcome to the Aronnax podcast.


I am  Craig Eason, the host of this podcast about the transformation of the shipping maritime and ocean paces. I am also owner and editor of Fathom World, and I’m In Copenhagen this week at the  World Maritime Technology Conference  2022, where the world’s leading experts in all things to do with ship design, technology and scientific exploration have come to discuss transformation, decarbonisation and change- three topics that are at the heart of what Aronnax and Fathom.World are all about.  


And those experts include five members of the technology and futures committee of Wista, the Women’s International Shipping and Trade Association. I managed to corner them here for this podcast episode, one of my first as live podcast interviews.  


With me is Dr Bev Mackenzie manager on marine environment at the shipping organization Bimco, Frederica Maiorano from WISTA Monaco and heading up strategy and partnerships at software form Spotship. Katia Corfinia is president of Goversilia Italy, working in the super or even mega yacht industry, and industry which is by the nature of its size and challenges shares a lot of issues with the more commercial shipping sectors. Jocelyn Hampton, head of sales at Software Group SeaRoutes. She is part of a WISTA Denmark,  and with me is Sofia Furstenberg Stott, a consultant from Sweden working with shipowners on their decarbonisation journey,


Great to have you all with me for my first live recording. Sofia, I know you are passionate about what WISTA has to offer into the industry. And we have this first meeting with your committee with this technology and futures committee are giving a presentation during the conference. Tell me a little bit about what this committee is trying to achieve.


Sofia Furstenberg Stott

WISTA is an organization with about 4,000 members and we are represented in 55 nations today, and in some way we have representation across the field in all kinds of areas and all at management and decision level. And yet at the same time in the forefront of technology, we in this committee, we want to inspire our members to engage more in that conversation to help them get the language for the transformative change that is taking place.


And we want to showcase to the rest of the industry that WISTA is an organization that is actually placed at the forefront of this change and of this development and that we have representatives here today who are very much taking part in that change.


Craig Eason

Well, one of the benefits of bringing five experts like yourselves around one table to have a chat with you is it gives me a chance to bring in a lot of the discussions about the environment about digitalization about elements of how fuels are going to be used in the future, for example, and particularly here, how we see new sectors emerging and the collaboration that brings it all together.


Jocelyn. Tell me a little bit about how you see this ability to bring in all the different perspectives from Digitalisation, which is where you look at things from, to decarbonisation, from different industry sectors.

I want to hear how WISTA does this as I do not see many other organizations having this ability,


Jocelyn Hampton

Sure. Well, I mean, I’ve spent the last 20 years and technology companies within ocean container shipping, and what I have found is that container shipping tends to be a little industry of itself. And not only that technology can be an industry of itself. But actually, we’re much part of this much broader industry, and things like WISTA can actually give you that kind of experience and knowledge and understanding of how apps, everything goes on within the shipping industry and how we can learn from ourselves.


It’s not just about me understanding what our customers want, what data they want, how they’re going to adopt it, how they’re going to transform what they do into a digital world. But it’s also about learning from other people how they may have done it in a different industry that is very similar, because it’s still within the world of shipping. So I think we can definitely learn from each other within WISTA to help customers really on their digitalization journey and help adopt that technology that will really help them to grow.


Craig Eason   

Frederica, from Spotship. What can you say, when you listen to other members,  what can you bring into your workload at Spot Ship,, when you listen to when you listen to Jocelyn? When you listen to Bev, when you listen to other Western members in general, what do you think you’re able to bring in? Have you got any sort of examples of how you go, Oh, wow, this is really going to help me.


Frederica Maiorano

I’m trying to think of a practical example. But definitely, I mean just to pick up on what Jocelyn said already, and also from Sophia’s introduction, I mean, WISTA is a great community. It’s just like every other community and many other industries, I think the fact that we’re many and represented from different countries,


And as you said, as well, many different fields of work. I think it brings a lot of human expertise, you know, to play together and the fact that I can listen to….. it’s the first experience for me in in sponsorship with anything related to technology, because my background has been in commercial shipping for about 10 years. So the fact that I can listen to leadership coming from women that have, you know, much more experienced than me, I think this is a great example already. 


Craig Eason   

Katia, when you’re coming in from the superyacht, these beautiful yachts How do you bring the highly sophisticated, pristine vessels into an industry with comparably directly, built for function not beauty. How do you see this industry sort of helping what you do in the in the mega yacht and helping this, this discussion about the technologies?


Katia Corfinia

I think with the WISTA, we have a fantastic opportunity, because we can share all our knowledge, which sometimes is different, because mainly, we have a lot of maritime war. But I think now that I’ve been all these big yards getting closer, we have also to take into consideration or to the technical aspect.


So we can work a lot together to find good solution, and identity, for example, for the fuel, so we can find good solution. Also thinking about the safety net, which has a lot of things in common that we can share together.


Our new baby, which is the Nautilus aim is VS, the scope of this group is to try to get the best of our knowledge to make a kind of, let’s say, a place where we can put all our experience because we have people on restart, which are 50 years, the speed and 40 has been all around the world. So it’s really something great and we are ready, we need to be ready today to the first changes that we have in the world and to fix also on the futures.


So how we can save our planet. I don’t know whether this is something common to see. But it’s very important because in the future, we have also to think some of these aspects where all the ships are going to be and what we can do so I think with WISTA we have a great opportunity to share all our efforts and knowledge on this.


Craig Eason


So when you’re looking at what WISTA can bring, whether it is from the Mega/Superyacht industry, from other shipping sectors, the experience you have got in other shipping sectors, across different technology groups, different companies whether technology, and  know you have the other committees. I want to look at how you bring this into your discussions at the IMO; You have consultative status at the IMO, so WISTA has got perhaps an ability to bring in a lot of different voices to the IMO that are perhaps not being heard before.



Sofia Furstenberg Stott

Yes. In addition to the tech and futures committee, WISTA has committees on inclusion, HR and a trade committee was recently established as well. And this is done with a purpose to be able to focus on topics and identify the important questions that WISTA has a remit to explore, and where the membership has relevance to gather around those topics.


Remember, this is a membership organization where everybody is working for free. And so what connects us is that we believe that collectively, we can bring value to the industry forward. And so that, that we back in 2018, got consultative status for the IMO is just an incredible opportunity for this organization. And, and we have yet actually to identify how we best can utilize that opportunity. But it’s very much with regards to identifying the specific topics where we can offer some value so that would typically go into the safety meetings.


For instance, we spoke yesterday about women’s maybe different needs for personal protective equipment. We have talked about how maybe we need to gender neutralize standards and guidelines in how we use equipment, on board ships, for example. These are very big and complex questions, and I don’t necessarily have the solution here, but as a committee, we hope to be able to gather the people that collectively can bring insight from WISTA  into these conversations.



Craig Eason

I’m going to stay on a similar theme. I see the WISTA brings to the table, and that is that international aspect. You mentioned the number of national committees that you’ve got. And in front of me, we’ve got representatives from WISTA Monaco, WISTA Italy, WISTA Sweden, WISTA UK and WISTA Denmark.

So we’ve got here five western nationalities around one table representing a sort of  international technology view, if you like.


Can you tell me a little bit about how you see that being able to bring into scope all these discussions, because to an extent, WISTA is like the IMO. A small United Nations, because you could all be representative of your own nations at the IMO committee meetings,  So what I’m guess I’m asking, though, is a little bit about that sort of international perspective from WISTA brings into these discussions.


Dr Bec Mackenzie

Yeah, I think is worth pointing out that I’m a serial joiner of professional bodies and learning societies. But I take it very seriously how I decide which ones to join and WISTA’s  part, national part international focus is actually really important because being a woman in the in the industry, you’re you’re impacted by your national kind of laws and how things work culturally in your country. And your national grouping can help you with some of those, but these big issues, that Sophia mentioned protective equipment on board ships, for example, how AI might be adopted.


There’s lots of kinds of research that says if AI algorithms are written by men, they will perform differently from if they’re written by women. Those are really big international cross cutting issues that if you discuss them nationally, you just miss bits you miss the kind of broader perspective and particularly now with decarbonization and this equitable transition, getting engagement across from the small island states, developing nations is really important.


WISTA has that kind of reach, and that kind of friendliness, that you know, women in some of those countries are not encouraged to participate in these things, but WISTA is a group that actively encourages people from around the world and gathers perspectives. And I think we’re really trying to nurture that in our committee.



Craig Eason

So what are the next steps for you, where does the technology committee move forward, how and what do you move forward.


Katia Corfinia

I think the first things I’m going to do is to share our experience, to knock the door of all our members and say, look what we have done, and which is really something very interesting to do, and to populate with other events like this


Sofia Furstenberg Stott 

 I think the first things I’m going to do is to share our experience, to knock the door of all our members and say, look what we have done, and which is really something very interesting to do, and to populate with other events like this.


I think this is an opportunity for WISTA to showcase here today when we are in Denmark, where we have a lot of Danish industry represented, to have them see how they can interact with WISTA as an organization to progress on issues that are important to them, because we have the boots on the ground across the world. and nobody else has that.


Frederica Maiorano

Personally, I think there’s a huge sustainability revolution that has knocked on our door, and I think we represent here, you know, as WISTA members as a group, but also individuals, different companies and different outlooks of how technology can really impact the industry in the future, and I think collaborating altogether from this point of view, I think is going to be make make the industry a lot stronger.


Dr Bec Mackenzie

For me, it’s really taking the kind of 18 years of experience I’ve got sitting at IMO meetings and really working out how Wister can be involved and get our voice across where I think it’s really, really needed.

I would say that, from my perspective, it’s been wonderful to meet others from other WISTA organizations. I totally appreciate the international pneus of our organization and building that network. It’s fantastic to talk to women, because you tend to have an element of trust already established, especially if you’re all members of the same organization. And using that to build a network, build education, build knowledge and experience and sharing that cross is something that will definitely take moving forward, both on a national level as well as across the tech community and internationally.


Craig Eason

Well, thank you very much the five of you for allowing me to come and have a chat with you. My name is Craig Eason. This of course is the Aronnax podcast. Please remember to subscribe to the podcast. You’ll find it on all of your podcast apps, and even Spotify and go to the Fathom World website where you can subscribe to my rather regular  newsletter. Thank you very much for me, and thank you very much for the five ladies. Thank you

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