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A concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System


Maritime transport is the backbone of world trade and globalization. Twenty-four hours a day and all year round, ships carry cargoes to all corners of the globe. This role will continue to grow with the anticipated increase in world trade in the years to come as millions of people are expected to be lifted out of poverty through improved access to basic materials, goods and products. World trade and maritime transport are, therefore, fundamental to sustaining economic growth and spreading prosperity throughout the world, thereby fulfilling a critical social as well as an economic function.



Furthermore, maritime transport will be indispensable in a sustainable future global economy as it is the most environmentally sound mode of mass transport, both in terms of energy efficiency and the prevention of pollution. These environmental, social and economic dimensions of maritime transport are equally important and should be fully recognized in any strategy, policy, regulatory framework or action.

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 2012,  known, known as Rio+20, witnessed intense negotiations that resulted in the outcome document, entitled “The Future We Want”. 
The document calls for a wide range of actions and also commits Governments to working towards a transition to a “green economy”. This should evolve around the three, equally important, dimensions of sustainable development – i.e. the economic, social and environmental dimensions.  Most importantly, at Rio+20, Governments agreed that the UN General Assembly should launch a process to establish a set of specific Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with a strategy to finance their implementation.

IMO has developed a concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System, which includes a set of goals and actions, to highlight the importance of maritime transportation by focusing on: 
  • Safety Culture and Environmental Stewardship 
  • Education and training in maritime professions, and support for seafarers 
  • Energy efficiency and ship-port interface 
  • Energy supply for ships
  • Maritime traffic support and advisory systems 
  • Maritime Security
  • Technical co-operation 
  • New technology and innovation 
  • Finance, liability and insurance mechanisms 
  • Ocean Governance.