Facilitation Committee, 43rd session (closing remarks)

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim

Friday, 12 April 2019

Madame Chair, Excellencies, distinguished delegates and observers,

Before I address you for the last time at this session, I am delighted to inform you that this week Malaysia has acceded to the FAL Convention, bringing the total of Contracting Governments to 122.

As another fruitful session of the Facilitation Committee draws to a close, we can look back with satisfaction on what has been accomplished this week.

We participated in an interesting event on Tuesday, organized by IMO and WISTA, on “Women, Ports and Facilitation”, and listened to  very engaging presentations from women in top positions in the maritime industry. I would like to thank the panellists and the moderator sincerely for their valued contributions and the interesting discussions.

We also hosted a very interesting Seminar on making cross-border trade simpler, organized by IPCSA and IMO, which took place yesterdayafternoon.

As we are approaching the end of another very busy but instrumental meeting of the Facilitaiton Committee, I would like to acknowledge some of the major achievements:

  • Firstly, you approved the IMO Compendium on Faciliation and Electronic Business.
  • Precisely on this matter, the maritime single window, you have completed and approved the revised Guidelines for setting up a maritime single window.
  • You have finalized the Explanatory Manual to the FAL Convention.
  • You have also taken a strategic decision for the future work of the Committee by establishing the IMO Expert Group on Data Harmonization. The group is expected to meet twice a year and will take care of the further development of the IMO Compendium towards harmonization with other fields beyond the FAL Convention. We are where we are today due to the unflagging work by WCO, in cooperation with UNECE and ISO and I wish to express again my appreciation to these organizations.

All these achievements would not have been  possible without active cooperation from all of you, the delegates, and I am grateful for your continued collaboration and unstinting support for the work of the Organization.

In congratulating you all for your contributions to the success of this session, I would like to thank in particular your Chair, Ms Marina Angsell of Sweden. This has been a very demanding session, but, Madame Chair, you have managed very efficiently, diligently and confidently to achieve consensus in all decisions, and under your able leadership FAL 43 has concluded successfully. I would also like to thank your Vice-Chair, Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman of Nigeria, for her input and valuable support provided throughout this session. I

 would also like to thank the chairs of all the working and drafting groups convened during this session, namely Mr. Roger Butterini of the United States, Mr. Fabien Joret of France, and Mr. Victor Jimenez of Spain.

This is also an opportune moment to thank those delegates and experts who are leaving us, for their contributions to the work of the Committee and of the Organization and to wish them all the best for the future.

I would like to mention in particular Captain Moises de Gracia of Panama, the outgoing Vice-Chair. His sterling work at the Permanent Represenation of Panama to IMO for almost 12 years is recognized by all the colleagues and friends of this Organization, and I would like to express my appreciation on behalf of the whole IMO family and wish him all successin his future endeavours.

I would like also to recall another leaving delegate who has been participating many years in the FAL Committee and is a well-recognized and respected expert on the FAL Convention, Mr. David Dupont of the United States.

Last but not least, I would like to mention another delegate for whom this will be his last meeting, Mr. Roger Butturini of the United States. Roger has significantly contributed to the work of this Committee, leading for many years the discussions in the working groups related to electronic exchange of information. I would like to express my appreciation for his contributions.

I would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the work of the staff in the Maritime Safety Division for their tremendous efforts and dedication, especially your Secretary, Mr. Julian Abril Garcia, Head of Facilitation, and his team, all under the leadership of the Director of the Division, Mrs. Heike Deggim  I also thank all staff in the Conference Division, including the Translation and Document Sections, as well as the translators.

All of them often work very long hours and, together with many officers from other Divisions, serve your meetings tirelessly and with high quality support services. I also wish to say a special thank you to the interpreters, whose skills in facilitating our communication never cease to amaze. I also wish to thank the Catering and Cafeteria staff, for keeping you hydrated and well-fed during the meeting.

This has been another remarkable FAL Committee meeting and I wish to express my appreciation for the stronger and increased collaboration between the shipping and ports industries. Finally, I wish to thank, once again, the Chair of the Committee, Ms. Marina Angsell of Sweden, for the excellent work done this week.

Now it is time to put the work aside and take a well deserved rest. It now remains for me to wish you all a nice weekend – and to those who have to travel home, a safe journey.  

Thank you.