Maritime Transport Policy


Maritime transport is an essential component of any programme for sustainable development because the world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry. 

Within this context, IMO provides its Member States with assistance in formulating and developing national maritime transport policies (NMTPs), thus strengthening maritime capacities and helping to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. NMTPs are also complementary to the concept of the blue economy which is closely associated with sustainable development.

What is an NMTP?

An NMTP is a statement of principles and objectives to guide decisions in the maritime transport sector with a view to achieving the maritime vision of a country and ensuring that the sector is governed in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner.

Why an NMTP?

A well-structured and implemented NMTP can give a country the tools it needs to become an effective participant in the maritime sector and to harness the full potential of the blue economy. 

Training  programme for capacity-building activities

To assist developing countries in formulating and enhancing their NMTPs, the Secretariat, in cooperation with the World Maritime University (WMU), developed a training programme and material on preparing, adopting and updating NMTPs. The programme, which combines the material originally prepared in 2015 and the experience gained from the delivery of such activities in various countries since its inception, was revised and updated in 2021.  It is available in English, French and Spanish language.

The programme has been developed for use during capacity-building activities in the field of maritime transport policy. It covers topics pertaining to policy rationale, policy formulation and formulation of maritime transport policy, international maritime instruments, and the economic, safety, security, human element and environmental dimension of maritime transport policy formulation.

The programme has a broad global dimension and is not country specific. It explores and encourages discussion on the priorities and challenges in formulating and developing maritime transport policy at national level and discusses the information base and readiness essential to develop and implement such a policy while also focusing on meeting global and regional standards. 

The programme is primarily designed for maritime administration and ministry of transport officials having different capacity, skills, knowledge and experience in formulating, assessing and implementing maritime transport policy.  Officials from other government ministries and agencies would also participate in formulating a maritime transport policy.  Prior to the delivery of such activities, countries are required to establish an NMTP Task Force whose role is to promote cross-sectoral participation and facilitate communication at all levels with the ultimate goal of formulating and adopting an NMTP.

The training programme consists of a three-day workshop for personnel involved in preparing NMTPs and a one-day seminar for senior transport officials involved in reviewing and adopting NMTPs.  The objectives of the training package are twofold:

• to provide all participants with a standard of knowledge and skills to enable them to understand the major elements of a maritime transport policy and its foundations; and

• to ensure proper understanding of the obligations of States and the implications of those obligations when formulating maritime policy and legislation, on the basis of international maritime treaties. 

Further information

Any requests for technical assistance with NMTPs should be addressed to the Director, Technical Cooperation Division at


For the long version of the video, click here.