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Lessons from Posidonia

Posted 06.06.2024
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BLUE Communications’ Emily Dove explains that for any newcomer Posidonia can be daunting and confusing, but there are tricks that make it easier.

You’ve all heard the name, and most likely the wild stories to emerge from one of shipping’s biggest and boldest events held bi-annually in Athens, Greece. Welcoming those across multiple segments – including brokers, clean techs, class, flag, government, ship managers, and media to name a few – the Greek shipping community has certainly been pulling out the stops.

Despite all its glory and glam, Posidonia can be daunting to the uninitiated. The norms and mechanisms that (let’s face it, predominantly male)  veterans have become accustomed to are often unseen at first. For any newcomer – especially a younger or female professional – Posidonia can be quite daunting.

With this in mind, I have been attending events since Sunday with a good mix of tenacity and nerves.

From my perspective as a second-time attendee, my advice for any is that if you don’t know how it works, then you’re not even in the game; indeed, it’s hard to work out where the game is being played! Figuring out the rules of engagement is critical, or you risk losing out. But fear not, once you learn a thing or two, it’s much easier to figure out the rest.

Learning from those around you is key. Seeking tips and tricks from previous attendees will help to navigate through the wave of events and networking affairs. You will make a plan, but it’s advisable to expect to do a ‘complete 180’ and switch schedule as each day something or someone new will emerge.

Some other peculiarities and anomalies I have picked up (but is by no means an exhaustive list) include:

It’s well known that shipping is male-dominated with some conservative players whose mindsets are hard to shift.

On the diversity track, Posidonia has highlighted shipping’s nature in female under representation and dismissal. Looking around the room at some events and you’re faced with a sea of men in blue blazers, is like arriving at an all-boys prep school. Add to that the often-misconceived idea that women are searching for a partner rather than business opportunities, and here lies the longstanding issue within our industry. Although being a woman has its advantages at times if you’re looking to attend events admittedly; I have learned that it just requires a bit of tenacity, and an ability to excuse sometimes questionable behaviour.

Women do face challenges in the maritime landscape as a whole, but let’s not let this hamper the efforts of those who are breaking the stereotypes. There are women here, as well as many people and companies who are providing an inclusive environment and level playing field. It’s definitely getting better, but we need more.

Shipping is evolving, and there are many male – both younger and older – advocates within the industry pushing for greater inclusion and diversity. I’m extremely fortunate to have found a supportive community from both men and women through networking and working with various shipping segments in my role at BLUE. Posidonia has served as a reminder that there’s still a lot of work to be done, but we’re moving in the right direction.

This article was originally published by Splash 24/7 on 6th June 2024.


Emily Dove

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