Economic Seasons

September 2, 2009

For everything there is a season. Each summer brings a respite for body and spirit; a chance to engage in outdoor activities whether gardening, sports, or simply relaxing and reading novels at the beach or pool. But all things must come to an end. The barn swallows that lovingly built a nest and raised their fledglings on our front porch over the course of ten weeks have flown away and the weather has turned cooler with a pre-dawn temperature today of 47°F (brrrrr!).

Now that the summer heat is beginning to fade, let’s hope that this season of change brings an end to the sluggish economy too. I anticipate that after the past few months of the summer doldrums, business activity will resume as more people return to their offices reinvigorated from their holidays and turn off the “Out of Office Auto Reply” function (although some folks have been known to keep that function turned on for a spell despite being back—I reckon the vacation/work transition can be a challenge?!)

The academic year has just begun at the local schools and universities and, likewise, HC has been busy gearing up for a new year of tanker operations and demurrage training programs that begin in three weeks in Houston followed by Amsterdam the week thereafter. Each year the course material is updated with the latest U.S. and English court rulings and arbitration awards that play a vital role in contract construction and dispute resolution.

Having a sound understanding of the various boilerplate charter party forms, maritime law, and custom of the trade enables parties to successfully manage their exposure in the tanker industry. And, as no two voyages are exactly alike or the terms that govern them, shipping will always be a dynamic field of study and practice in exercising critical thinking skills.

Who says demurrage is boring? I call it job security. Now, I gotta get back to work!