IMO Special Event on Ports


11 June 2018

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to welcome you to this Special Event on Ports.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about this year's World Maritime Day theme: "IMO 70: Our heritage – better shipping for a better future". On 6 March, we celebrated 70 years since the Convention establishing IMO was adopted and were extremely honoured to receive Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II here at IMO Headquarters to observe the occasion with many representative from maritime community.

We are planning a series of further events and initiatives to commemorate 70 years full of achievements, in which the truly vital shipping industry has become safer, cleaner and greener, thanks to the work of IMO. This year’s World Maritime Day will be celebrated at IMO Headquarters on 27 September, and the annual parallel event, organized by the Government of Poland, will take place in Szczecin later on this week.

It has always been my firm belief that the maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people who operate them, should play a significant role in helping Member States to create the conditions necessary for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through the promotion of trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land and, through the development of a sustainable blue economy, at sea.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I have dedicated my career to shipping, first as seafarer and later on, as part of the maritime administration, at national and international level, including two periods as representative of the Republic of Korea to IMO.

My last position before I was elected Secretary-General was President of the Busan Port Authority, and during that time, I had the opportunity to see the value of encouraging stronger links between ships and ports to enhance the efficiency of maritime transport. I also became aware of the importance of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), the international organization that integrates ports around the world.

One of my priorities as Secretary-General has been to open the Organization up to other stakeholders who may not have been previously involved in the work of IMO. This is so that we can deal with all aspects of the maritime industry in a holistic way, not restricting ourselves to shipping.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The IMO Convention mandates the Organization to provide machinery for cooperation among Governments in the field of regulation and practices relating to technical matters of all kinds that affect international shipping. 

These different strands come together in ports – where ships, the sea, and the land, meet.  Ports are a vital link in the maritime transport chain and there are measures to improve their efficiency that are under the purview of this Organization.

Since IMO was established in 1959, the volume of world trade has increased by over 300 times. The world population has topped 7 billion and will continue to rise. Maritime activity already provides an important source of income to many developing countries.

Developing trade by sea, nurturing development of national shipping lines and promoting seafaring as a career, as well as managing and protecting fisheries, securing offshore energy production, and creating the stable conditions that encourage tourism, can all have a very positive and beneficial effect. 

Sustainable economic growth, employment, prosperity and stability can all be enhanced through the development of maritime trade, which continues to increase in volume and importance. Improving port infrastructure and efficiency is vital in this respect, and the port industry faces many challenges today that mirror those faced by the shipping community.

The operational complexities of dealing with larger ships; the need to manage congestion; the need to do more with less space; the continual pressure to enhance safety in and around port areas and to embrace greener technologies and working practices, are among the specific challenges that the entire supply chain needs to address. So is the need to reduce the administrative burden on ship masters, seafarers and shipping companies, and to reduce the time ships and cargo spend at ports.

You may be aware that many stakeholders in the shipping industry tend to operate in silos. Nowhere is this more evident than in governments, where we often find that areas such as maritime safety and navigation, port and infrastructure development, transport policy, environmental protection, fisheries, security, customs and border control all fall within different departments or different ministries. Collaboration and communication are critical to the success of the global supply chain.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the desire to strengthen the links between ships and ports, I have promoted this Special Port Event together with IAPH, and I want to express my sincere appreciation to Mr. Santiago Garcia-Milà, President of IAPH, and to Mr. Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director Policy and Strategy of IAPH, for their support in the preparation of the event.

Today, 18 panellists will share their views on port related issues such as the maritime single window, the port community system, ways to improve facilitation, best practices to improve coordination at ports, improvement of efficiency of ports, and implementation of measures to reduce emissions in ports, including on-shore power supply. The importance of port security will also be addressed.

I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to the moderators and the panellists who have kindly accepted to participate in this event. They have different backgrounds and come from different parts of the shipping industry, including international organizations, ports and national administrations, and I am sure their views will be of interest to you.

We also intend to inform the membership at upcoming sessions of IMO bodies about this event, including any relevant recommendations and conclusions that may be of interest to such bodies.

This event will be followed, on 12 and 13 June, by a port security focused event, organized in cooperation with the International Association of Airport and Sea Port Police.

This is the first time that the Secretariat has organized events like these dealing with facilitation and port security matters, recognizing that the ports and the shipping sector need to work closer together, and to promote the facilitation of international maritime traffic. I am delighted that these events are being held here and I look forward to the interesting discussions that I am sure will take place.

Thank you.