The Breaking Waves conference, which has previously been a part of the start-up event Slush, was organized as virtual event on November 18th 2020. Nearly 200 persons, from ten different countries across Europe and North America participated. Although the covid-19 pandemic prohibited organizing the event physically, the new virtual format enabled participation of the audience in a new way, by an interactive and co-creative workshop.
The year 2020 has challenged the international maritime community in an unprecedented way, hence the theme for Breaking Waves this year was smart recovery from the effects caused by the pandemic. The event focused on sharing information and insight between actors, creating a situational description and also identifying new opportunities.
Keynote speeches where given by top industry experts, like the world-renowned economist Dr. Martin Stopford of Clarkson Research and Magda Kopczynska of DG Move, European Commission. Finnish industry expertism was represented by Roger Holm of Wärtsilä Marine Solutions. The speeches where focused around the sectors development towards further sustainability and emission free shipping. The speakers agreed, that reaching the common goal of decarbonizing shipping, a lot of R&D and innovation is needed, as well as collaboration between different stakeholders.
The afternoon continued with a workshop, that highlighted e.g. the changes in working habits and the boost in digitalization due to the crisis. Regulation of the sector also evoked discussion amongst participants. International industry influencers took part in the virtual panel; Karin Orsel (MF Group), Piet Opstaele (Port of Antwerp), Santiago Garcia-Mila (Port De Barcelona) Sauli Eloranta (VTT) and Björn Blomqvist (Rederi ab Eckerö). The panel also concluded that cooperation between actors is especially important now, in order for example solving the problems with international crew change, as well as in creating new business models in a changing operating environment.