Danish Maritime Days: Rough Seas Ahead for Shipping Industry

The Shipping industry is facing rough seas and many challenges ahead, Koji Sekimizu, Secretary General of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) said while speaking at the Danish Maritime Forum in Copenhagen today.

According to Sekimizu, following the 2008 financial crisis and global economy’s contraction in 2009 the shipping industry is still undergoing a period of adjusting.

“The shipping industry is in a difficult situation, but I think this is not new and I am sure that the shipping industry will survive. The reason for this is in the fact that the shipping industry is indispensable to the world,” Sekimizu said voicing his optimism about the future.

Looking forward, Sekimizu said that the IMO is moving into a new model of operation which will take the form of a compulsory IMO Member States audit so as to ensure good governance from the member governments.

Speaking of other developments, the IMO Head referred to low sulphur shipping and ensuring that in 2020 the industry does not encounter shortages of fuel. In this respect he stressed the importance of carrying on the study on availability of low-sulphur fuel.

Touching upon the image of the shipping industry and in particular, the shortages of skilled seafarers to run the ships of the future, Sekimizu pointed out the need to encourage the young generations to join the maritime field.

It is important to create good image of the industry within the general public, but in particular among younger generations,” he explained.

In this respect IMO launched a new project called the IMO Maritime Ambassador Scheme where governments appoint ambassadors in their own countries, assigning them with the role to promote the maritime professions among young generations starting from primary school. So far, 16 maritime ambassadors have been appointed.

With respect to cutting emissions from the shipping industry and Paris climate talks, Sekimizu explained that the IMO may set up compulsory measures in order to ensure a level-playing field for the industry, but that it was up to the shipping companies to take up a proactive attitude toward reducing emissions and doing so by defining exact reduction targets.

“What I expect from the shipping industry is not to wait for a decision from the IMO in order to ensure a level-playing field but from the each company to take initiative in this respect so as to maintain a good image of the industry,” he went on to say.

World Maritime News Staff; Image: DMF