2023 in Review and Looking Ahead to 2024
Dear valued IMPA members, friends and colleagues,
Happy New Year to you all. I hope that you were able to spend an enjoyable year-end and New Year period with your loved ones, and that you have started 2024 in good health and feeling refreshed.
As we do every year at IMPA, we like to take a moment to reflect on the year passed, celebrate what we have all achieved, and look to the year ahead.
2023 in review
2023 was an important and joyous year for our Association. Primarily, this was because we finally reverted to normal and—after three years during which the thick fog of unpredictability played havoc with the clear skies of our event planning—we were once again able to bring the industry together to network, learn and debate. We made our way, once again, to Hamburg, Athens, London and Singapore, and even experienced Las Palmas. Old colleagues caught up, new partnerships were forged, and many new opportunities arose. Our industry is a people business and, in all honesty, being back to normal never felt better than last year.
Once again, sustainability was most prevalent across our portfolio. In anticipation of upcoming regulatory requirements, the IMPA ACT initiative fully transitioned last year to being the industry’s first and only 360° solution for companies who want to implement Responsible Business Conduct standards— both internally and in their value chain— bringing a new web-based platform for conducting operational impact assessments in collaboration with our good partners at Global CSR, a wider environmental scope for the IMPA ACT Code of Conduct, as well as many new tools and guidance for practicing members.
At the same time, IMPA SAVE has been going from strength to strength, winning in November the CrewConnect ESG Champion Award in recognition of our industry’s efforts towards getting to zero single-use plastic drinking water bottles onboard ships. This award, a testament to our collective efforts, is also due to our good partners at the UK Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO and many others, that help amplify the IMPA SAVE voice and tell our industry why getting involved is a must. And finally, the cherry on the cake happened just before the year end, when we finally reached the elusive 100; that is 100 companies that have pledged to say no to plastic and are brave enough to change the status quo under the umbrella of IMPA SAVE.
The Marine Stores Guide had another excellent year, during which it continued to release updates, entered the final stages of development for the brand-new on and offline MSG service, and developed a brand-new API for third-party users. Similarly, IMPA’s now-rebranded Supply Chain and Sustainability Magasine (previously known as the Marine Trader) has been increasing in popularity and is now more packed with industry news, opinions and reviews than ever before.
Last but not least, 2023 was a fabulous year that saw the Association expand considerably. After reaching 1000 members the previous year, we are now rapidly approaching 1100, something that has been possible in not small part due to our wonderful IMPA ambassadors. Speaking of which, we also welcomed three new ambassadors last year in UA, Cyprus and Venezuela.
Looking ahead to 2024
Looking forward to 2024, the horizon holds immense promise and opportunities for us all, as our industry continues to remain buoyant.
Events will always hold a special place on IMPA’s agenda, so we will of course continue our 40 years’ tradition of bringing together the maritime industry’s key global decision makers in 2024 as well. We will see you in Hamburg on 18 April, in London on 10-11 September, in Athens on 24 September, and in Singapore on 19-20 November, where we will do our best to offer you the right platform to meet old colleagues, build new business relationships and network, learn and debate the IMPA way.
Sustainability will continue to dominate IMPA’s agenda, not only because we all believe it is the right thing to do, but also because it is increasingly becoming a must at corporate level. If you find yourself struggling this 2024 to meet the new sustainability reporting requirements from the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive that explicitly expects companies to conduct sustainability due diligence in their own operations, you may be interested to know that IMPA ACT is able to help with that. And this year, we will work harder on helping members ease their transition towards responsible business conduct and impact reporting.
Continuing our efforts in the sustainability realm, IMPA SAVE will start looking at new milestones and project streams this year, including new ways to reduce other plastic onboard vessels and the wider issue of waste management, as well as continue the ‘Getting to Zero’ campaign. This year, we will also be publishing our very first IMPA SAVE annual sustainability report, in which we will communicate our pledgers’ efforts with the initiative so far.
We will continue to work across the board together with our ambassadors and wider industry to continually expand the IMPA community, and will work hard to bring further value to your membership. We are already working on Directory improvements that will see members gain new opportunities for exposure later this year.
In terms of the Marine Stores Guide, 2024 is set to be the biggest year for development yet; not only is the eight-edition launching in late Q1, bringing a wealth of updates including (for the first time) sustainable alternatives, but we are also launching a brand-new on and offline service which will change the way MSG users interact with the MSG as part of their daily procurement and supply operations.
Last but not least, we picked up efforts last year and formed a working group with the goal of developing a new online course for junior purchasers and suppliers, and this will receive significant focus and resources this year, with a view to launch in autumn.
It is going to be a very busy year, but as we embark on this new chapter, let us carry forward the lessons learned from the past and embrace the future with enthusiasm and determination. Together with you, we will continue to set benchmarks, uphold professional integrity, and contribute significantly to the ever-evolving landscape of maritime procurement.
In closing, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to each member, ambassador, partner, and stakeholder for the unwavering support you have offered to our Association. Let us continue to join forces as we step into a prosperous and fulfilling 2024. Along with my best wishes for the year ahead, I hope that around this time next year, we will be discussing all that has been accomplished.
Susan Wraae Koefoed
IMPA Chair and CEO