Maritime Community Celebrates World Maritime Day 2017

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“The maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping member states to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land; and through developing a sustainable blue economy at sea.”

This is the key message being shared around the world today, as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the global maritime community celebrates the World Maritime Day under the theme “Connecting Ships, Ports and People.”

“As a UN agency, IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the aims of the sustainable development goals. Shiping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade. The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea,” Kitack Lim, IMO Secretary-General said in his World Maritime Day message.

“Our theme for this year will enable us to shine a spotlight on the existing cooperation between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system,” Lim added. 

Separately, in its message for World Maritime Day, Esben Poulsson, Chairman of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), said that the world has great expectations for IMO delivering an “ambitious” greenhouse gas reduction strategy for the international shipping sector.

“We are confident that this initial IMO strategy, once adopted next year, will match the goals and philosophy of the Paris Agreement on climate change, while also fully recognising that the sustainable development of the world and its peoples is critically dependent on the continuing smooth flow of global trade, about 90 per cent of which is transported by sea,” Poulsson pointed out.

“IMO is the only body which can deliver further GHG reduction measures that will have a meaningful impact on the emissions of the entire global shipping sector. It is vital that IMO remains in control of this critical issue, building on the real progress already made with its package of technical regulations that became legally binding across the entire world fleet in 2013, the very first global agreement of its kind adopted for a major industrial sector,” he continued.

ICS, in collaboration with BIMCO, INTERCARGO and INTERTANKO, has recently made a detailed submission to IMO on the possible contents of its GHG reduction strategy. The industry proposes that IMO member states should agree an initial objective of holding the total CO2 emissions of the international shipping sector below 2008 levels, but that IMO should also set an ambitious goal for the percentage by which the sector’s total CO2 emissions should be reduced by 2050, compared to 2008, compatible with the legitimate concerns of developing nations about the potential impacts on trade and economic development.

“The global shipping industry has now come forward with clear proposals on how IMO can help it decarbonise as quickly as possible, complete with some serious objectives, numbers and dates. It’s now up to governments to present their own ideas, in order that IMO can deliver a suitably ambitious strategy which can be adopted next year,” Poulsson concluded.