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My cluster: personal insights inside Copenhagen

Continuing Fathom World’s digital trip around maritime clusters we head to Copenhagen to visit Sofia and Conor Fürstenberg Stott who together make up Fürstenberg Maritime Advisory. They bring together all of their experiences across the maritime sector – it is pure maritime matrimony, and here’s their joint words about the Danish maritime cluster that goes by the name Blue Denmark.

The Danish Cluster may immediately bring to mind a large plate of delicious pastries. While working with the Danish cluster certainly can involve wonderful confectionery, our main passion is rather for the shipping industry here.  

Craig at Fathom World asked us why we love working here and actually this is a very good question. In work and indeed all of life, it’s important to examine why things are right as well dealing with what is wrong and needs fixing. 

To answer this question, we decided to use the 10 reasons model. We do realise the difficulty to stay within that small number, though!  

Yes! It’s Wonderful

1/  Denmark is well known for its equality, freedom and socially progressive lifestyle. Living here is healthy and positive and this supports the small micro consultancy that we are. 

2/ The community of shipowners and suppliers is tied to the Danish drive towards energy transformation. This fact is clearly visible and will certainly springboard Danish shipping, its cluster and the community it belongs to. In doing this Denmark is finding new ways to couple sectors towards that goal. Not least in Power-to-X initiatives which are a particular area of interest for us. So, we feel that we are in the optimum place at the optimum time for our own agenda. 

3/ Denmark ranks 5th in the world when measuring operated tonnage (including chartered in vessels), and is nothing less than a vibrant global industry hub. While not only being large, it acts with humility and honour. We were all proud to see the high standards and moral shown by the captain and his crew onboard Maersk Etienne, the tanker vessel who so courageously and with such persistence rescued and took care of 27 migrants, whilst being stuck in political stalemate.  

4/ Regionally, both in terms of the Nordics and Europe as a whole, the Danish cluster extends out and interacts positively, with curiosity and ambition. There is willingness to try new things, to explore new pathways, and to learn together. So this is a place from which we can reach far beyond the city walls. 

5/ The Danish cluster, including shipowners, charterers, finance, equipment manufacturers, lobby groups and all peripheral groups are actually still small enough to feel like a community. If someone can’t answer your question, it is likely that they can pass you on to someone who does, even if they in turn are sitting in Singapore or Houston. 

6/ Because of its history and size, shipping in Denmark is known and respected. Instead of being a quiet minor industry on the side, here we are part of a major activity. This tends to invoke a high sense of purpose and relevance to our activity, vital ingredients when developing a small business. This may also be one of the reasons why Denmark and Copenhagen has the trust among its funding members to establish the MMM Zero Carbon Shipping Centre here.  

7/ Denmark is taking a leading role with the pandemic related crew-change crisis. This tangibly demonstrates to us that we are not only located with a major maritime cluster but also one that exercises real duty of care to the most fundamental element in shipping – its seafarers. 

8/ The geographical size of Denmark and its cities, including the quality of the transport infrastructure means super good opportunity to meet and relate. These days with many meetings going online the feeling of proximity and shared locality is strangely still there.  Teams and Zoom meetings can often start with conversations about how things are at the other end of town, or other side of the country. There is a high likelihood that where people are working from home, we have perhaps been to their suburb or town in the past. The sense of cosiness or “Hygge” as Denmark is famous for, does extend to the maritime cluster in many ways. 

9/ Looking ahead a few months, nothing beats a Danish Christmas (Swedish is good too 😉) and during this time of year the maritime cluster here seems to get even closer, taking the opportunity of the long dark winter evenings to gather socially and exchange views. Denmark is coping well with Covid and finding workarounds socially. So we hope this year, although changed, still brings plenty of opportunities for us to partake in the usual seasonal warmth in the industry. 

10/ No nonsense. There is a refreshing lack of fluff and nonsense within the Danish shipping community. What you see is what you get and it does what it says on the tin! People keep their word and you get honest opinions, even if the feedback can be a little tough!  

Sofia and Conor Fürstenberg Stott can be found at Fürstenberg Maritime Advisory where they help clients on their decarbonisation journey.

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About Author

Craig Eason Stockholm
Craig Eason is the owner and editorial director of Fathom.World. He has a background in the shipping industry having started his career as a cadet on oil tankers and gas carriers before becoming a navigating officer on a range of vessel types. A change in career, with ensuing university studies, and he has now gained 20 years experience in written and broadcast journalism. He now is in demand as a knowledgeable and competent editor and event host and moderator, both for in-house events and ones for the public.

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