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Friday, September 28, 2018 

One of the industry’s most renowned periodicals, Fairplay, is to cease publication in December, bringing an end to 135 years of insightful shipping news and analysis.

The decision to close the magazine comes as current publisher IHS Markit restructures its maritime business unit around sister publications Safety at Sea and Dredging and Port Construction.

According to Stuart Strachan, senior vice-president, Maritime and Trade, at IHS Markit, despite great improvement in the editorial product in the past three years, a very competitive market and the challenges of print as a medium were behind the decision to close Fairplay.

“Despite investment and concerted efforts to build an online community and maritime events, we have been unable to generate growing circulation, subscription and event revenues,” Strachan said. “Not unlike many print-based brands, we haven’t gained sufficient traction with these efforts.”

The final edition of Fairplay will be published on December 6. Online publication will cease in the last week of November.

Fairplay Executive editor Nicola Good said: “It’s been a pleasure to work with such a talented and dedicated group of people and I take immense pride in some of our recent projects as well as our biweekly print edition, which I believe is one of the strongest in the industry.”

Founded in 1883 by Thomas Hope Robinson to provide an outlet from which to “speak out, loud and bold … for the shipowner, as an advocate, not a judge”, Fairplay was published continuously by the Hope Robinson family until 1973, when it was acquired by the Financial Times. It subsequently changed hands a number of times before IHS acquiried the title in 2008.

The closure of Fairplay is the latest in a number of UK-based maritime print newspapers and magazines to have ceased publication in recent times. The daily Lloyd’s List newspaper abandoned print in 2013, after 279 years, while Shipping World & Shipbuilder, first published as The Shipbuilder in 1883, ceased publication in 2014.  

Of the UK-based print titles to have their origins in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, only The Motorship survives. It will be 100 years-old in 2020. In the US, Marine Log, which published its first edition in 1878, followed in 1881 by Maritime Reporter, both continue to this day.

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