Global trade by sea is dependent on the interconnection between ships, ports and people - and everyone needs to be involved, from port operators, to regulators, to maritime security experts and innovators in technology.
The theme of mutual cooperation and collaboration was highlighted throughout a special event on ports, held at International Maritime Organization (IMO) Headquarters (11 June). The Special Port Event was supported by IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim, in collaboration with the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).
Across four sessions, 18 panellists shared their views on port related issues such as automation and digitalisation, including Port Community Systems and the maritime single window; 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; and the challenges of dealing with larger ships.
The importance of port security - as a key element to support facilitation of trade by ship - was also covered. The event was opened by IMO Secretary-General Lim, who said that it was his firm belief that the maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people who operate them, could and 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.
While stakeholders in the shipping industry may have a tendency to operate in silos, Mr. Lim said that it was his intention to open the Organization up to stakeholders, who might not previously have been much involved in the work of IMO, in order to deal with all maritime aspects in a holistic way. Mr. Santiago Garcia Milà, President of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), also addressed the event.
A second event focused on port security (12-13 June). The Symposium on port security operations was co-sponsored by the International Association of Airport and Seaport Police (INTERPORTPOLICE) and the IMO Secretariat, focusing on exchange of best practice on port security and law enforcement.
An introductory session conducted by IMO, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Interpol, outlined resources, tools and capacity-building programmes and how ports can access them. IMO, UNODC and Interpol have been collaborating on joint regional capacity building activities, focusing on maritime security, since the adoption of IMO's maritime security regime in 2002. The three organizations continue to work together to help build capacity to fight illicit maritime activity around the globe.
IMO Secretary-General Lim highlighted the role of IMO and partner organizations in helping Governments to develop their national oversight capability for safety and security and to promote the application of the IMO International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS Code) and the ILO/IMO Code of Practice on security in ports. Lim also reiterated the need to develop increased collaboration and communication between shipping, ports and other stakeholders.