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Thursday, 27 January 2011

What is it about Hamburg?

An old friend of mine has a habit of going into pubs and asking for “one of what The Beatles drank in Hamburg”. Once in a blue moon, he ends up with what he wants – a bacardi and coke.
Apart from being home to The Beatles for a few months in the Sixties, Hamburg is of course a great shipping city and port. But its name does not always have happy connotations in the maritime world. The Hamburg Floods were bad. In the Seventies, they provided marine cargo insurance underwriters with a way to lose lots of money when they had despaired of finding a new sink hole for their cash.

The Hamburg Rules were bad. They were supposed to be the new Hague-Visby Rules but instead turned out to be a partisan regulatory farrago and a largely neglected stepping-stone on the road to the Rotterdam Rules, which are only slightly more popular.

At least the Hamburg Ship Evaluation Standard is dividing opinion within the industry. It is both good and bad. But if it is agreed that using long-term charter rates to arrive at ship valuations is a good idea, then at least give the thing a chance by giving it a proper name. The Ship Evaluation Standard has such an authoritative ring.


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