19th October 2020 marks the 10th Anniversary of our Shanghai office. The last decade has been quite a journey. We had a big party planned in Shanghai, but as I write much of Europe is re-considering further lockdowns and overseas travel is becoming an ever more distant memory.
Our Shanghai office was the first to close, as Covid-19 began to spread globally. The team did an excellent job of maintaining normal service working from home and they were the first of our offices to re-emerge as China began to discover its ‘new normal’. Notwithstanding the recent issues with Covid-19 we have seen many changes, challenges and opportunities over the last decade.
Ashley Xu manages our Shanghai hub, she leads a capable and enthusiastic team that she has helped to build, all of whom are qualified PRC lawyers. We had the foresight to eschew the standard ‘white haired expatriate’ senior management culture. Appointing Ashley, a talented young woman, as the manager was a leap of faith in a male dominated industry and within a culture where the senior commercial manager is always expected to be a man. It was a decision for which we have been well rewarded.
Ashley and her team continue to go from strength to strength and have a very loyal following amongst our Asian clients. They also play a key role in our marketing efforts within China assisting in promoting our services to new clients of the Charterers P&I Club and producing work for the True North team in London.
It is exciting that after our first decade it still feels like we’ve only scratched the surface. There is so much opportunity and over the next 10 years the Shanghai hub is destined to play a key role in our commercial development. They’re a young team that has so much potential. Over the last couple of years, they have really found their feet commercially and started to take control of their own destiny.
From our global commercial HQ in Dubai, Gavin Ritchie and I have overseen their development and helped them navigate the various challenges, and to recognise and seize opportunities. It’s very frustrating for us not being able to be there to celebrate with them personally. I’m very grateful to them for their hard work and commitment and very excited about the prospect of working with them over the next decade.
Chief Executive Officer