Capital Link 11th Annual Operational Excellence in Shipping Forum - keynote

Capital Link 11th Annual Operational Excellence in Shipping Forum

8-9 June 2021

Keynote address by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to address this distinguished global audience once again.

We are at a key moment in time.

We continue to live through a global pandemic. However, the world has also become more aware of our dependence on shipping, seafarers and marine personnel.

While shipping has continued to deliver, keeping world trade going, many thousands of seafarers have become stranded at sea, working long beyond their contracted time.

I thank the Governments who have designated Seafarers as "key workers" with an aim to help facilitate seafarers' safe movement across borders and ensure they can continue to work safely; and welcome the efforts of all, including shipping industry partners, and seafarers union who have been working tirelessly to advocate for seafarers. I urge all countries that have not done so to designate seafarers as key workers, allow for safe and efficient crew changes, and offer priority vaccinations to seafarers so that they can continue their critical roles without further interruption. 

Following the immense socio-economic impact of the pandemic on the shipping industry, it is time to pave the way for a re-imagined future of the industry.

We have an opportunity to drive a green recovery and ensure a sustainable maritime future.

To keep pace with the demands of the global economy and the expectations for sustainable growth, the maritime world needs to be in the forefront of transformational change. 

What does this entail? I believe the key to shipping's transformation will come from increased digitalization as well as the decarbonisation of shipping.

 Digitalization contributes to a green and sustainable maritime future. 

Exchange of information between ships and ports over digital platforms is already mandatory under IMO's Facilitation Convention.

These efficient arrangements have helped ensure that shipping was able to continue to deliver world trade even in the midst of the pandemic.

Digitalization is a solution - but the challenge is to ensure it is fully implemented across all nations and all ports.

The wider endorsement of the maritime single window concept is needed to strengthen efficiencies by allowing submission of all information required by various government agencies

through one single portal, streamlining port activities to benefit the supply chain.

IMO's strategy for implementation of e-navigation - the harmonization and standardization of digital technologies and user interfaces - will support safer and more environment friendly shipping.

The benefits of digitalization and automation need to be harnessed to full advantage – while ensuring user needs are taken into account.

Digitalization in the form of port call optimisation can also help cut emissions.

These opportunities are before the industry, and how they grow and develop will shape its future. 

Confronting climate change and navigating the course of decarbonization is also going to transform shipping greatly. 

IMO Member States, in 2018, adopted the initial GHG strategy with a clear goal to phase out GHG emissions from shipping.

In the next week, starting this Thursday, IMO is expected to adopt important short-term measures to cut carbon intensity of all ships. The adoption of mandatory measures is supported by a comprehensive impact assessment of the measures on States, paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries.

IMO has produced and will continue to adopt concrete measures to move shipping on the path to decarbonization. These measures are based on in-depth technical discussions. We will revise IMO's initial GHG strategy in 2023 in the light of experience gained and developments in tackling climate change.

The need to decarbonize will impact ship design, operation and future fuels. There needs to be investment in R&D, and infrastructure. IMO is collaborating with a range of partners to further promote and accelerate research and development into low- and zero-carbon marine fuels.

This effort includes many stakeholders from the public and private sectors, not only in the shipping and port industry, but also private and development banks, and academia. 

The way forward is complex, but by working together with determination we will ensure that shipping will make a key contribution in the fight against climate change. 

Collaborative actions are key to making sure no country is left behind when it comes to shipping's decarbonized future.

The support of our donors and project partners is critical. We have several ongoing partnership initiatives with key stakeholders, including UN partner agencies, the World Bank, the European Union, Norway, Germany, Singapore and the Republic of Korea, etc.

All our initiatives have one common goal – to strengthen partnerships, build capacity and accelerate innovation and technology uptake, as well as to address the challenges faced by developing countries, in particular, Small Island Developing States and Least Developed Countries. 

We all have a part to play to push innovative thinking to develop and implement solutions to combat climate change and to push forward digitalization.  

Meeting our goals will require cooperation and collaboration of all maritime stakeholder to develop innovative solutions for the green and sustainable maritime sector of the future. I look forward to working with all of you in this effort. 

Thank you.