Q&A with Kiran Khosla, Director, Legal Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping

By Kiran Khosla, Director, Legal Affairs, International Chamber of Shipping

In a nutshell, how would you describe the main role of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS)?

To represent the interests of all shipping sectors to ensure a responsible and sustainable global industry. ICS works with governments at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to shape the future of shipping. National government delegations increasingly focus on the political aspects of policy and welcome advice and input from ICS on the technical and practical impact of proposed regulations leading to better outcomes for all stakeholders.

What is the biggest challenge facing the ICS today?

Environmental issues are at the forefront of the current regulatory agenda.  Meeting the ambitious objectives set by IMO for further reduction of shipping’s greenhouse gas emissions, implementation of the 2020 0.5% global sulphur cap for marine fuel, and compliance with the IMO Ballast Water Management Convention are among the biggest challenges facing ship operators today.


On the legal side, we are hugely concerned that regulation agreed at the international level at IMO and other fora, is implemented and applied in a uniform and consistent manner. This is absolutely necessary for an international industry such as shipping. From an insurance point of view, since the industry, through the international liability and compensation regimes such as in the Civil Liability Convention (CLC) and Fund Conventions, pays its liability for pollution through insurance, it is important that the conventions are applied as intended and consistently to ensure stability and continuing capacity in the market for the risk.


How does the ICS and IUMI work together?

ICS and IUMI have a close liaison relationship. The two associations work together in numerous industry groups and international regulatory forums.  Regular liaison meetings are held with the IUMI Secretariat to try and ensure better understanding of each other’s positions with regard to the current issues facing the respective memberships.

Is there anything you would like to see underwriters do differently or better?

I would encourage proper meaningful consultation with shipowners at an early stage as this is more likely to lead to buy-in and acceptance.


Do you have a view on the current state of the marine insurance market?

This is not for ICS to comment on! However it is important for shipowners that the marine insurance market is vibrant, competitive and viable. Shipowners recognise that the long-term profitability of underwriters is important. Without it, capital will not be risked which could lead to contraction in the market and a reduction in competition. Mutual trust is most important in the relationship between the insurer and their assured, and it is to be hoped that a degree of stability will return to the market, allowing secure long-term relationships to flourish. 


Shipowners want the most comprehensive, reliable and secure insurance for their ships at the best possible price.  Underwriters want profitable premium income and increased market share. Both remain reasonable aspirations, even in times of economic uncertainty.


If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing in the shipping industry what would it be?

Greater stability - an end to the cycles of boom or bust. Proper return on investment for capital and labour.


If you were not in your current role what would be your ideal job?

I am fortunate to be working in my ideal job already here at ICS but if I was not, my other ideal job would be to be out and about in my vineyard – pre-Brexit, I thought somewhere in the Southwest of France and post Brexit, well excellent wines are being produced here in the UK, even in remote locations in Wales! So something to explore.


What do you like doing when not working?


Spending time with my family and trying to find time to improve my current beginner piano skills.