New maritime forum M7 meets for 1st time

Delegates from the shipowner associations of the G7 along with Australia, India, South Korea and South Africa have created a new shipping association, M7 with the first meeting organized by the UK Chamber of Shipping.

They were joined by Bimco, the International Chamber of Shipping and the European Community Shipowners’ Association.

UK Chamber of Shipping president and chair of the meeting, John Denholm said: “The meeting discussed improving trade through digital documentation and the need for governments and industry to invest more in green research and development projects and the important role that seafarers were playing in keeping trade flowing through the Covid pandemic.”

The initiative comes as a result of the ideas presented by leaders of many of the world’s largest economies which have descended upon Cornwall in southwest England this week for the annual G7 summit.

As disclosed, top of the M7 agenda was a call for governments to back the shipping industry’s proposal for a $5billion research and development decarbonisation fund.

Furthermore, the fund, known as the International Maritime Organization Maritime Research Fund, will be collected from a levy on bunkers and is to be discussed at the IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee meeting under way in London.

What is more, the shipping associations also pointed out that governments need to assist the development of digital documentation to help facilitate world trade in the post-pandemic recovery.

The crew change crisis was discussed, and the extraordinary work seafarers have done over the past 15 months supporting global trade under extremely challenging conditions was noted.

The meeting called for governments of the G7 to follow the lead of the United States, Canada and other countries in prioritising vaccinations for seafarers.

Denholm also noted that “if the industry is to meet its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2050, large-scale investment in research and development is necessary as without this we simply will not have the technologies needed for the greener, cleaner shipping industry that we all want.”

The M7 is now a new forum for the national ship owning associations of the G7 members and their first virtual meeting took place on 9 June 2021.