There is little doubt that the position of President, Chamber of Shipping of British Columbia, is one of the most important roles to provide leadership for the shipping industry in B.C. That said, the skillset and experience of the person replacing Captain Stephen Brown must be strong in a number of facets. As you’ll read in our interview with Robert Lewis-Manning, the Chamber’s board has found such a person. Knowledge of ships, commercial shipping and Canada’s supply chain, government and non-government stakeholder relations, and, above all, skilled in the art of diplomacy are just some of the assets that Lewis-Manning holds in spades. The fact that he’s a self-admitted environmentalist and has a track record of successfully engaging non-shipping interests on issues similar to those facing the West Coast, provides optimism that perhaps he is the one to bridge the great divide that separates the industry and the populace of B.C.
BCSN: It’s early days yet but what are your initial impressions of the industry on the West Coast?
RLM: My impression is that the western marine community is really cohesive and connected and that the Chamber itself is a hub for much of the activity within the shipping community. That was a pleasant revelation.
Contrasting that are those tall mountains and perhaps an insular view of the industry. The challenges on this coast are clear to most people but when you climb those mountains, you quickly realize that most of the issues are national and international in scope. I think it’s getting the dialogue over the mountains that’s going to be a big part of my mandate.
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