IMO Secretary General highlighted IMO’s objectives for the year forward during his opening remarks at the Panama Maritime event, an event held to celebrate Panama on the 100th anniversary of its ship registry. Mr Kitack Lim noted that a big challenge for shipping is to remain sustainable, while meeting the demands for enhanced safety and environmental performance, at the same time.
Noting that the world now demands services to be safe, green and clean, as well as efficient, governments have sought through IMO to ensure that shipping responds to this challenge.
“The significant improvements in casualty and pollution figures from ships over several decades clearly show that we have achieved considerable success in this regard. Yet, still, we seek further improvements’’ Mr. Lim stated.
Therefore, IMO is prepared for the challenges ahead by implementing its forward-looking strategy.
‘’To make sure we have this, an important strategic planning exercise is currently taking place within IMO. The Organization is developing a new strategic framework for the 2018-2023 period, based on an inclusive process. At the moment, a number of specific strategic directions for the Organization have been identified.’’
Regarding the new emerging technologies, Mr Lim said there is need to balance the benefits against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment and on international trade, the potential costs to the industry and, not least, their impact on personnel, both on board and ashore.
‘’New technologies have already brought significant changes in the way ships are designed, constructed and operated, impacting personnel, both on board and ashore. In the future, I expect technology will create a more interconnected and efficient industry, more closely integrated with the whole global supply chain’’ he added.
He also referred to IMO’s important role towards sustainability which is to ensure that shipping continues to make its contribution to the global economy without upsetting that delicate balance.
‘’A further strategic goal will be to help international shipping operate more effectively from an administrative perspective. By this, we mean addressing things like arrival and departure formalities, documentation and certification, and generally reducing the administrative burdens that surround ship operation. And, again, we want to make sure that technology is employed in the best possible way to achieve this’’ he commented.
Closing his speech, IMO Secretary-General expressed his commitment to pursue industry’s goals for safety, security and efficiency in shipping. This is the reason why the organization has chosen ‘connecting ships, ports and people’ as the theme for World Maritime Day this year. IMO’s role as the global regulator of the shipping industry can enhance this integration as consistent, uniform regulation facilitates the free flow of commerce.
You may view IMO’s Sec-Gen full speech here.