Seatrade Awards 2018

Seatrade Awards lunch
Landmark Hotel, London, 29 June 2018
Speech by Kitack Lim, Secretary-General
International Maritime Organization

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure to be here today to celebrate the winners in the annual Seatrade Awards. Some people say that shipping is a traditional industry, caught in the past. But these awards show that shipping is also innovative and forward-looking.

I would like to congratulate all the winners, as well as the nominees. I also commend the organizers for choosing categories which reflect the current challenges of the maritime sector, where blue-sky thinking can hold the key to continuous progress and so the awards for digital technology, cyber security and fuel efficiency are particularly relevant and support those well-established categories of safety; clean shipping; and people, amongst others. We can see in all the nominations that the shipping industry is looking into the future and is already addressing the developments and challenges that all stakeholders must work together to address.

I would like to begin with a few words about IMO. This is a special year for us, as we celebrate not one, but two, major anniversaries: 70 years since the IMO Convention was adopted and 60 years since it entered into force.

Our theme for the year – "Our Heritage: Better Shipping for a Better Future" – reflects on the past and looks into the years that lie ahead.

IMO can be justifiably proud of its record of steering the shipping industry, through regulation, to being ever safer, greener and cleaner. But we cannot rest on past achievements. Our main focus has to be firmly on the future.

All around us, in all areas of our lives, we are encountering radical new trends and developments, usually driven by innovative digital technology. This so-called "fourth industrial revolution" is arriving in the shipping world. The shipping world must learn to move fast and adapt quickly!

We must ensure that the opportunities presented by modern "mega trends" are carefully integrated into shipping, balancing the benefits against safety and security concerns, the impact on the environment, on international trade, and on the human element. These "mega trends" include new energy sources, through the so called "energy revolution" and the reduction of GHG emissions; digitalization, artificial intelligence; big data and the associated opportunities of enhanced data management in the shipping industry.

In this ever changing environment, we need to consider the future of IMO, also taking into account the commitments stipulated in the IMO Convention. 

IMO's main objectives, as specified in IMO's mission - "to promote safe, secure, environmentally sound, efficient and sustainable shipping through cooperation" - remain unchanged and the Organization must focus on strengthening these functions in light of the mega trends affecting the maritime community.

I believe that this can be achieved through three main actions: Firstly, through collaboration and cooperation among all stakeholders. With this in mind, I am constantly working on strengthening the dialog between Member States and the maritime industry. Secondly, through enhanced and improved capacity building in developing countries and thirdly, through education as well as appropriate and constant training of all stakeholders involved in the maritime community.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am convinced that by working together we can shape the future of shipping to uphold the maritime industry's role in global trade and the global economy. Shipping is as crucial as ever for the global supply chain and sustainable growth.

Events like this provide a great opportunity for ideas to be shared and new connections to be made. This is the vision I have, as Secretary-General of IMO, to bring all maritime stakeholders together. From our side, IMO will continue to foster communication and collaboration between shipping, ports and the logistics industries, to further enhance the efficiency and suitability of shipping and to lead shipping into the future.

To conclude, I would once again congratulate the nominees and winners today, who are showing us what can be achieved – and showing the world that the maritime community has its sights clearly on the future.

I would also like to again thank Seatrade for their commitment to recognize innovation and excellence in shipping.

Thank you.