Tonight, I got mentally exhausted yet relieved. I just had my speaking engagement earlier this afternoon. Pfew!
Okay, about two weeks ago, I got a phone call from the organizer, one Mr. Jannis Kostoulas, the managing director of the Mare Forum. The Mare Forum are organizers of Mare Forum conferences, specializing in conference management, project development, and policy marketing. They bring together policymakers and chief executives of an industry to have dialogue and debate so everybody can be on the same page in strategizing business and deciding on policies. Today’s Mare Forum conference held in the Four Seasons Jakarta discussed the maritime industry and was titled Maritime Indonesia 2008.
The conference was attended by some 140 guests (as told by the organizer), mainly from the shipping industry, both Indonesian and foreigners. There were three large groups as I had observed: shipowners, shipbrokers, and financiers. Other small groups were lawyers, analysts, journalists, and none from the government. Quite a disappointment since a lot of the discussion needed the government’s perspective as the policymaker. But their absence is understandable since the policymakers would almost certainly be put in a hot seat. Nonetheless, the conference moved on ahead with minor delays on the schedule.
I was scheduled to present my case shortly after lunch. The topic of my presentation was cabotage. Cabotage is a hot topic in the Indonesian shipping industry. It offers an opportunity for tilting the balance of the bargaining power toward the shippers and away from the charterers. I think the future landscape of the domestic maritime trade will be in favor of the shippers due to the implementation of the cabotage law. Of course, I am holding the premise that it will be implemented and on time. My presentation has been archived by the Mare Forum here.
Why did I choose to present a topic on cabotage, much less on maritime trade? Well, I think the organizer felt strongly about the cabotage issue, and I happened to write an article about it in the Jakarta Post. They even admit to having invited me because of that article.
Overall, it was a good experience for me, a change of pace from my daily work in the cubicle pondering the state of my valuation (sigh). I met many people here and a fellow Indiana alumn (yeah, a small world after all).