Kierstin Del Valle Lachtman knows she has big shoes to fill in her new role as Secretary General of the Liberian Shipowners Council (LSC). But she is relishing the challenge.
Kierstin says of her predecessor, Joe Ludwiczak, “Joe led LSC for 17 years in such a dedicated and service-oriented manner and is a very tough act to follow.” But, having previously worked as a representative and advocate for shipowners, most recently as Manager of Maritime Policy for Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) in Washington DC, Kierstin knows the Liberian Administration well. “They are always supportive of industry,” she says, “and I look forward to working with them.”
Like LSC, CLIA is a shipowners’ association that represents its members to regulatory and rule-making bodies. “Many of the methods used to develop cruise industry positions,” says Kierstin, “can be used to develop those of the LSC membership. I also have experience of representing CLIA at IMO and will help ensure that the views of LSC members on important international issues are heard there and at other international forums such as the International Labour Organization (ILO).”
Kierstin believes that LSC is well-positioned to drive real change for its membership. “We have a great working relationship with the Liberian Administration and with the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS),” she says. “By working closely with these organizations, we can ensure that the voice of our members is heard by all regulatory and policy-developing bodies. We can provide input in connection with new regulations and policies as they are being developed, thereby assessing and managing their impact on our members.
“The LSC Board is one of its greatest strengths. Our Board comes from Unisea Shipping Ltd, Stolt-Nielsen, MSC Group, Zodiac Maritime Ltd, Hartmann Reederei and Marwave Shipmanagement, all of whom are committed to ensuring that LSC meets and indeed surpasses the needs of its membership.”
So can LSC members expect to see any changes under Kierstin’s leadership? “Yes, members can expect to see some changes,” she says, “but nothing that will impact their membership in 2019. As we work towards growing and further developing LSC, we will take a look at our membership structure, including fees. We are also considering introducing a new membership tier for service providers, such as classification societies and shipyards. In addition, we want to look at how we can enhance our methods of engaging with members.”
Kierstin recognises that open registries need to be service-oriented in order to maintain and expand their shipowner client base. And she says, “As the voice of the clients, LSC sees that Liberia does indeed listen to our concerns and always responds quickly and professionally.
“Liberia is recognized globally as a white-list registry. Its values are very much in line with those of our members, whose aim is to maintain the highest standards of quality, safety and environmental protection.”