Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit

Global Maritime Forum Annual Summit

Opening reception

Remarks by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General, IMO 

26 October 2021

 Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to welcome you to IMO Headquarters. It is good to see so many of you here today in person and in good health.

I would like to congratulate the Global Maritime Forum on holding their Annual Summit despite the challenges of the Global pandemic.

Over the last 20 months the pandemic has had a huge impact on the world as we know it. For the maritime sector the impact has been profound.

On the positive front, shipping has demonstrated its relevance and importance to keep trade and transport of essential goods and medicine flowing across continents even during the pandemic.

Commercial shipping has enjoyed a boom and liner shipping in particular has experienced an unexpected upturn.

However, all this has come at a cost to the world's seafarers, with hundreds of thousands of them still serving on board long beyond their contracted time or unable to join ships, to earn a living.

We must acknowledge the outstanding contribution of seafarers and continue to support them, by recognizing their key worker status and facilitating their vaccination.

I must recognize the exemplary collaboration that has characterized efforts to support seafarers between IMO, other United Nations Agencies, Member States and industry.

The crew change crisis is not yet over. We must continue to take the necessary action for more countries to recognize seafarers as key workers and to facilitate vaccinations for them.

As we strive to make shipping sustainable some of our current major policy discussions include digitalization and automation in maritime where we are making considerable progress in our various meetings.

Additionally, the key challenge of our time is combating climate change and the decarbonization of shipping. This work is ongoing of course in addition to our regular work to ensure the safety, efficiency and environmental protection of the maritime sector.

In addressing climate change, we have just last June adopted important technical and operational short-term measures that will contribute significantly to the reduction of GHG emissions from shipping, including Energy Efficiency Existing Ship Index (EEXI) and the carbon intensity indicator (CII) rating.

Further we have started discussions on our measures for the mid- and long-term including work to:

  • the upgrade our ambitions in IMO's GHG strategy,

  • criteria and life cycle assessment of future fuels; and

  • potential market-based measures.

We will have very important discussions on these crucial matters. Good collaboration and cooperation will be of utmost importance to succeed.

I very much appreciate the commitment and efforts of IMO Member States, NGOs and the industry at our IMO meetings particularly in the recent meetings where in spite of the challenges of remote meetings, key strides have been made.

In this sense, I welcome the effort of GMF to discuss these major topics that will determine the future of shipping.

I wish you a very successful event, fruitful discussion and of course a joyful reception this evening at IMO.

Thank you!