When Fida Husain first began his journey in law, he could never have imagined becoming a leader in the global shipping industry – an expert of the high seas. Not only has he risen to the top of his field at an extremely rapid pace, named Fida as one of the Top 20 Under 40 leading individuals in the maritime sector (Middle East, North Africa, India subcontinent region) in 2021.
From finance to maritime
Fida is originally from India, and completed his BA LLB at Bangalore University. He then continued his studies outside of his home country, earning his LLM in International Business Law from National University of Singapore and East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai. . Completing his studies in 2008 – in the peak of the global financial crisis – made it an obvious choice for Fida to find work in the financial sector, as countless businesses around the world were in need of support.
In the beginning, his work was primarily focused on corporate law, managing a variety of mergers and acquisitions through the financial crisis. He was then offered an exciting opportunity in Doha, Qatar with an international investment bank that required his expertise to facilitate the merger of two of the largest shipping companies in the region. Given his impressive performance, the merged company, , then recruited him as their legal counsel. Although he gained the position for his financial expertise, this is the moment when Fida’s career began to pivot towards the maritime sector.
Working with Milaha has been quite the adventure. Initially, he was responsible for counseling all sectors of the business units and commercial departments on everything from port management to contractual liabilities and managing risk profiles across the company assets. It was a huge period of growth and learning, and Fida took every single opportunity to diversify his knowledge and strengthen his expertise.
Impressed with his abilities and leadership, Milaha promoted Fida to the role of Vice President and Head of Legal within just a few years – making him one of the youngest to hold such an esteemed position in a blue-chip listed shipping company. It was essential for Fida to have a strong understanding of all sectors of the business, as well as the variations in legal operations within the different regions that the shipping company operates.
Improving global shipping in the era of climate change
During his time with the company, Fida has had excellent success rates on legal cases, with 94% concluding in a win or settlement in favor of the company. He was also a key player in helping the company to pivot their shipping business during the 2017 GCC boycott against Qatar, which could have been catastrophic for trade continuity. By restructuring and moving their transshipment hub from Dubai to Oman, Fida was able to efficiently restore Qatar’s supply chain and avoid a potentially catastrophic humanitarian crisis. He also facilitated the purchase of 14 new offshore support vessels to strengthen Qatar’s energy security.
Beyond the courtroom, Fida has contributed to Milaha’s expansion in Singapore, France, Norway, India, Africa and the GCC region. He recognizes that he is uniquely positioned to help influence a powerful and impactful industry and is well aware of the negative effects that the shipping industry has had on the environment. He says, we are under increased pressure to cut our emissions. International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has adopted mandatory measures to reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses (GHG) from international shipping, and various regulatory frameworks have been implemented by IMO, such as MARPOL (for marine pollution), EXI, CII, SEEMP (Energy Efficiency Measures) and GHG Strategy (emissions cut), which has to be complied with. For that reason, the industry is pivoting towards LNG which typically produces lower emissions compared to conventional fuel and Fida has taken it upon himself to become an expert in Decarbonization efforts within the industry including LNG shipping. With his involvement in various energy efficiency projects on LNG tonnage along with spearheading multiple decarbonization initiatives, he hopes to contribute to a significant reduction in the carbon footprint of the entire global shipping industry.
Given the urgency that we face to create sustainable solutions, Fida Husain’s expertise in the global LNG maritime industry is a highly valuable asset. Add to that his global experience, legal prowess and unique people skills – we have a leader who could truly steer the global industries towards carbon-neutral sustainable energy consumers.
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