Institute update for branches and teaching centres



This letter is being written just prior to the April exams which by the time you receive it, will have just been completed.  But if you think you are receiving this letter a month too early, you are correct.  Unlike previous years, the ICS has upgraded its membership database so we can now send out membership renewal notices in advance, rather than a month after the new financial year has commenced.

Due to the vagaries of Easter timing, exam dates were a little different this year.  Pre-exam Prep sessions were held in Melbourne and Auckland which again proved to be popular with those students able to attend, especially in Melbourne; and while a little quieter in Auckland this year, it is always felt worth while to run these sessions to assist students with last minute questions.

This was an eventful year, commencing in August 2014 with a visit by the ICS Director and Vice President.  I accompanied them on a tour of the Branch, commencing in Perth (cocktail evening), then Melbourne (ICS annual gala dinner) and Sydney (tall ships cruise) and culminating in Auckland (industry lunch).  Gala events at each of the cities were very well attended by the ‘who’s who’ of the Australian and New Zealand maritime industry.  As a Branch, we have again made our ‘mark’ on the World stage.

Following in the wake of the August events was the November exams which were run as an ‘experiment’ and appears to have been a success.  At this stage, we are awaiting news from Head Office as to whether they will make the November exams a permanent feature of the ICS calendar year (in addition to the April exams).

Perth was again at the forefront of our bespoke education program, delivering two courses on Construction of a Charter Party, the first attended by 13 people drawn from various charterers in Perth and the second was delivered to CBH trading staff.

In March this year Melbourne held a very successful seminar titled Australia’s Free Trade Agreements: the rhetoric and the reality, presented by David Luxford of Hicksons Lawyers, attended by about 30 members of the local maritime community.

The New Zealand Chapter again held a very successful end-of-year dinner, jointly with several other marine associations, in Auckland. The end of year dinner has become an established event on the marine scene in Auckland.  The Chapter has also continued the run of successful luncheon seminars throughout the year and another is scheduled for mid-May, with a guest speaker from Cruise New Zealand to give a presentation on the rapidly expanding cruise sector.

We have held a Branch committee meeting in Sydney in February followed by an ‘after-5’ gathering and as a result we see a revival of activity there with the Chapter due to host a seminar in June. Let’s hope this kick-starts further professional and social activities among the Sydney maritime fraternity.

The Branch forward programme of events for the Branch are as follows.

  • NZ Chapter, Luncheon Seminar on 20 May 2015.
  • Sydney seminar on 25 June 2015, Australia’s (recently signed) Free Trade Agreements. Presented by Derek Luxford.
  • NZ Chapter annual combined shipping organisations dinner, Auckland, late November. (date to be advised).

Please note the following dates in your diary and I hope to see you all at:

  • ICS ANZ Branch Annual General Meeting at Melbourne on 13 August 2015.
  • ICS ANZ Branch Annual Gala Dinner at Melbourne on 14 August 2015.

Other events for the 2015 year will be announced via email and the web site in due course.

The last three years has seen the Branch grow in stature from a ‘colonial outpost’ to one that wields considerable influence with Head Office.  We have managed to do this due to the untiring efforts of our Committee, whose commitment to the Branch and to the ICS cannot be questioned.  With the nomination of a number of the ‘younger’ members into the Branch Committee, we have found a new vibrancy and now hope to organise many more activities, in all the centres.

I hope that we can continue to bring you events that add value to your qualification as MICS/FICS.  At the same time, I request every one of you to get on board the ICS bandwagon so that we may distinguish ourselves from the other practitioners in the maritime industry.

Please renew your membership subscription prior to 1 June 2015 and remember to update your personal and contact details so we do not lose track of you.

Yours sincerely,

Capt R.J. (Bob) Hawkins
Branch Chairman
Australia and New Zealand Branch



It is my pleasure to let you know that the past year, 2014-15, once again marked a milestone for the Institute. For the first time in many years we held examinations in November in some selected centres on a trial basis, with 884 students undertaking exams in 33 centres. Our assessment is that this was well received; consequently we will consider continuing the trial with expanded subjects and exam centres.

As a result of the November exam session, we expect numbers to be slightly down for April with just over 2,200 students registered to undertake exams in 104 exam centres globally. Overall the combined total number of students for the 2014/15 year is still very high and emphases the strong demand for quality training and education programmes in the international shipping industry.

I would like to thank you for your continued support and membership of the Institute. Our image portrays professionalism and integrity. We trust that Members will recognise that the maintenance of these values is the one of the intrinsic benefits of being part of the Institute.

Invoices and Membership Cards

We are enclosing our invoice for your 2015/2016 subscription, and as soon as payment is received we will send your membership card for this year.  Your membership card can be used to validate your membership of the Institute; it will also allow entry to branch events and other Institute related functions.

We had managed to maintain the annual membership subscription rates at the same level since 2012, however at the Controlling Council meeting in November 2014, it was agreed to slightly increase membership subscriptions. This will only equate to an approximate 3% increase in membership subscriptions for most members, which reflects the increased costs in the UK where most of the Institute costs incur.

Membership Database

I would strongly encourage you all to log on to our membership database ( if you have not done so already. You are able to update your personal details and pay your membership subscription fees directly.

The most important aspect of this membership database is the membership directory where you can choose to share your details with other members and have access to their contact details.  One of the major benefits of being a member of the Institute is the networking opportunities that arise from being involved in a professional group.  I would urge you to make full use of this facility and tick the box to allow other members to see your information and network.


Unfortunately Regus no longer offer free corporate partnership agreements and therefore the Institute is unable to continue to offer free Regus Office access for members. However we are currently negotiating with another partner and we hope to soon be able to announce a new and exciting benefit for members.

Thank you again for your continued support, and best wishes for a successful and prosperous year ahead.

Yours faithfully
Richard Brook-Hart FICS
ICS Chairman


An update from Head Office, London June 2014

Dear members,

All over the world, our students are breathing a sigh of relief as the exam period closes. And, likewise, branches and teaching centres, volunteer exam centres and invigilators are also relaxing after the busiest exam period in the history of our Institute.

Here in the head office the process of allocating the examination papers to our examiners has started. As you can see from the image above, we are slowly finding ourselves surrounded by boxes of completed exam papers. It will take about two weeks for all the exam papers to arrive, be counted, checked against hall lists, collated and allocated.  Once this is completed, the exams will be sent out to examiners located in about 10 different countries. Luckily, this year, five of the head office staff undertook the logistics exam, so I’m confident they are well prepared for this.

We have 45 examiners, supported by assessors in each subject. This year we welcome a number of new examiners. A key goal for David in our education team is to make sure we grow examiner capacity before we need it. So, he has started a programme of recruiting new examiners, across multiple subjects, who will start this year with just a few exam papers to mark, but will be given the extra support by lead examiners to make sure that by the next exam period they are experienced and confident.

I must also share with you how deeply we were saddened by the news of the loss of Alex Marr. He was a very engaged member of our Institute, a great supporter of our students and had recently volunteered to act as the assessor for the Offshore Support Industry subject.

There is much to update your branches with, so please take note of some of the important events and deadlines in my message below.

Best wishes from all of us in the head office

Education fees for next year – 2014/15

The head office has been tasked with looking at the provision of a second exam session during the academic year. We’ll be looking for volunteer exam centres next year to help us run a trial. More information will come to you in the new year.

Our student numbers are growing, and the geographical spread is ever wider. There is also a significant change in the proportion of self-funding versus employer-funded students. Our remit as an Institute to promote professional education and standards, and to make them as accessible as possible means that we consider any fee increases very seriously.

For the next academic year there will be, inevitably, some increases in costs to both the head office and to exam centres. Therefore we are considering increasing the registration fee, but further subsidising the examination fees.

How can we afford to drop examination fees? Well, we looked at our students. We recognised the levels of unemployment for young people, here in the UK, in Greece, in South Africa, across the globe. We recognised that these young people still want to find a career in shipping, and those that were lucky enough to have jobs, even if their company training budgets have been slashed, wanted to invest their own time and money into their self-development. So, to us, the question was how we can find money in the Institute’s budget to help us support these students, and continue to strive towards making our exams as accessible as possible.

I look forward to your comments and thoughts.

New head of membership

We’re delighted to confirm the appointment of Joe Besch as the new Head of Membership for the Institute.  Joe brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience from the Ports and Shipping sector.  Joe’s career started as Deck Cadet with the Pacific Steam Navigation Company and progressed with various Shipping Companies and Port Operators, including Furness Withy, Associated British Ports, Milford Haven Port Authority, and C.R.O Ports where he has taken a number of senior roles including appointments as Operations Manager, Dock and Harbour Master and Commercial Director.

Joe is a graduate of the University of Wales, holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Cardiff Business School, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and has been a member of the ICS since 1997.

He will start with us in the next few weeks.

And finally…

Student numbers continue to climb and climb. With 250 new members elected in September and more than 50 names on the list for the election list at the next Executive Council, we’re heading for another bumper year.

We’re looking forward and we continue to welcome your ideas, and criticisms (because I know we don’t always get things right). Keep in touch.

Best wishes,
Julie Lithgow



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