Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers (CCC 4), 11-15 September 2017 (opening address)


(11 to 15 September 2017)

Good morning, distinguished delegates, I am very pleased to welcome you to the fourth session of the Sub-Committee on Carriage of Cargoes and Containers. I particularly welcome those delegates who may be attending this Sub-Committee for the first time. This is the first meeting after the summer break and I hope that while preparing for the Sub-Committee's session you have also found time to relax with a view to tackling the hard work that awaits you this week with energy and drive.

Before I begin my opening address, I wish to express my sincerest sympathy, compassion and condolences to the delegations of those countries affected by the recent hurricanes in the Atlantic ocean and the Caribbean sea, the devastating floods that hit Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and the earthquake that hit Mexico and Guatemala, which sadly caused loss of life and significant damage to both property and the environment, and I appreciate the work of the national authorities and first responders, and their continued efforts to deal with the aftermath of these catastrophic series of events.

Before turning to the most important items on your agenda for this week, I wish to say a few words about this year’s World Maritime Day theme, which is "Connecting Ships, Ports and People". On 28 September we will be celebrating World Maritime Day here at IMO and around the world and the theme has been selected to build on the theme of 2016, "Shipping: indispensable to the world". I believe that the theme has provided and will continue to provide, throughout the remainder of the year, a good opportunity to improve cooperation between ports and ships and help develop a closer partnership between the two sectors, with a view to improving efficiency, safety, security, environmental protection and operational efficiency.

Once again the work of the CCC Sub-Committee is especially relevant to this year's theme. Cargo handling, loading and securing, the verification of the gross mass of containers, inspections of containers and the safe operations involving dangerous goods in port areas are examples of strands of work that fall under your Sub-Committee's purview and demonstrate the close link between ports and ships. In this context and in line with the priorities that I set at the start of my tenure with regard to implementation and communication, the Technical Cooperation Division, at the request of the Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, and with the support of the Maritime Safety Division, conducted a series of port visits and one-day workshops in March of this year in eight African countries, to share information and experiences emanating from the implementation of the SOLAS requirements for the verification of the gross mass of packed containers and to promote the implementation of CTU Code.

In addition, the Sub-Committee's work on the safe use of alternative fuels on ships continues to provide important means for the shipping industry to reduce atmospheric pollution originating from ships and to improve the health of residents in port cities in particular.   

More generally, through the World Maritime Day theme we aim to promote the outlook that the maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people who operate them, can and should play a significant role in 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.

Distinguished delegates,

I would like to highlight some key issues among the various agenda items for CCC 4. The Sub-Committee and the Editorial and Technical Group this year will finalize the amendments to the International Maritime Dangerous Goods (IMDG) Code for the current two-year revision cycle, with a view to submitting the draft amendment to MSC 99 for adoption. With regard to solid bulk cargoes, you will consider the outcome of the Correspondence Group on Evaluation of properties of BAUXITE and revision of draft individual schedules for SEED CAKE and you will review the findings of the Global Bauxite Working Group, with a view to further developing and updating the International Maritime Solid Bulk Cargoes (IMSBC) Code taking into account the latest research results on the potential instability of bauxite cargoes.  

With regard to work related to the International Code of Safety for Ships using Gases or other Low-flashpoint Fuels (IGF Code), I encourage you to continue developing the requirements for fuel cells as well as the technical provisions for the safe use of methanol and ethanol as fuel on ships. As I mentioned earlier, this work will provide important alternative technologies for the shipping industry to meet its sulphur oxides (SOx), nitrogen oxides (NOx) and carbon reduction targets.

Distinguished delegates,

I am confident that you will tackle the tasks before you successfully, inspired by the customary IMO spirit of cooperation and that under the able leadership of your Chair, Mr. Xie Hui of China, ably supported by the Vice-Chair, Mr. Patrick van Lancker of Belgium, and the staff of the Secretariat as always, you will make sound, balanced and timely decisions. I take this opportunity to thank Patrick, who is retiring soon after CCC 4, for his dedication and invaluable contribution to the work of this Organization. Patrick, we will welcome your successor in the Belgian delegation but you must know that your pertinent interventions and guidance, as well as your humour and enthusiasm, will be missed after this session.

Finally, as is customary, all of you are cordially invited to a cocktail reception hosted by me in the delegates' lounge this evening.

Thank you.