World Maritime Day 2017 - Connecting ships, ports and people
On 26 September, WMU hosted Sweden’s World Maritime Day event in cooperation with the Swedish Maritime Forum. The 2017 IMO theme, “Connecting ships, ports and people”, focuses on helping member States to develop and implement maritime strategies and to invest in an interagency approach that addresses a wide range of issues, including the facilitation of maritime transport, increasing efficiency, navigational safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime security. It encourages member States, United Nations agencies, other organizations, and industry, to work with shipping and public and private sector ports around the world to identify and promote best practices and to build bridges between the many diverse actors involved in these areas.
In his opening remarks, Joachim Glassell, Director of The Swedish Maritime Forum, welcomed the guests to what would prove to be an informative afternoon of discussions. Dr Cleopatra Doumbia-Henry, WMU President, delivered this year’s IMO Speech. She noted the dramatic evolution of shipping in the last 150 years from sailing ships to today’s sophisticated and immense global industry characterized by high productivity. Shipping provides a dependable, low-cost means of transport, facilitating commerce and helping to create prosperity among countries, thereby helping to lift people, all over the world, out of poverty. Ports have become more sophicated and today are driven by technological advancements leading to fast turnaround time for ships. Shipping and ports connect with people on board ships and those who work in ports as well as people around the world who depend on the goods carried by ships and loaded and unloaded in ports around the world. By transporting 90 percent of world trade, shipping drives economic development and wellbeing and contributes to environmental protection. President Doumbia-Henry stated, “The maritime sector will continue to play a significant role in creating conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability. No one can do it alone. Securing a sustainable future for shipping and the global economy requires a worldwide network connecting ships, ports and people. To be successful now and in future, we need to work collaboratively across national and regional boundaries as well as at the international level and with the industry stakeholders.”
Themes throughout the event included the importance of maritime information sharing as well as the human element. Ulf Siwe, STM Validation Communications Officer for the Swedish Maritime Administration, presented advances in Sea Traffic Management that aim to connect the maritime world through real-time and efficient information exchange resulting in more just-in-time arrivals, right steaming, reduced administrative burden and decreased risk related to human factors. The case was made for enabling connectivity to hinterlands for sustainable transport systems as well as port-to-port collaboration including optimization and synchronization. The question of digitalization and what it means for the future was presented by Annika Elfström, Head of the Digital Transformation Lab for Stena Rederi. She noted that the concept of change itself has changed with rapid advances in technology and artificial intelligence. Rikard Engström, CEO of The Swedish Shipowners’ Association highlighted the importance of shipping to world trade and a sustainable society, as well as its importance to Sweden’s import and export of goods. He conveyed that 50 new ships are slated to enter the Swedish-owned merchant fleet, although they will not all be registered in Sweden, and that more than 100,000 people are employed in the Swedish shipping cluster. From the perspective of port development, Magnus Alfredsson, Property Developer for the Real Estate Office of the City of Malmö, discussed the City’s ongoing plans for the western harbor, new harbor, Hyllie, and the Malmö industrial park. He emphasized the importance of strategically developing the areas to ensure ecological, economic and social sustainability are in balance.
World Maritime Day was first held in 1978 to mark the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the IMO Convention that established the Organization. Since then, World Maritime Day celebrations have been held throughout the world to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO's work. Since 2005, in addition to the official IMO celebrations held at IMO Headquarters in London, there has been a Parallel Event hosted by a member State. This year’s World Maritime Day Parallel Event will be held in Panama, from 1 to 3 October.
World Maritime Day celebrations are usually held during the last week in September each year. To view the 2017 World Maritime Day video featuring IMO Secretary-General, Mr. Kitack Lim, click here.