Connecting Ships, Ports, and People
The importance of coherent and connected development across all maritime sectors will feature strongly in International Maritime Organization’s work this year, as it focuses on its World Maritime Day theme, “Connecting ships, ports and people.”
The theme for 2017 was launched by IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim during a visit to Felixstowe, the busiest container port in the United Kingdom.
“Throughout the year, we will highlight the importance of joined-up maritime development across all sectors, both from a policy and a practical perspective,” said Lim. “The benefits of a free and efficient flow of goods and trade extend far beyond the ships and ports themselves.”
As an agency of the United Nation, IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals, Lim noted. “Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade,” he added. “The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea.”
During a tour of the port led by Clemence Cheng, chief executive officer of the Port of Felixstowe and managing director of Hutchison Ports Europe, Lim witnessed port operations at first hand, observing the clear link between ships and ports and the people that operate them.
He also spoke to crew on board the container ship Munkebo Maersk about the significance of the World Maritime Day theme for seafarers as well as for the wider public, the people who depend on shipping for most of everything they need and want.
Lim noted that the theme for 2017 would enable IMO and the wider maritime community to shine a spotlight on the existing cooperation between ports and ships to maintain and enhance a safe, secure and efficient maritime transportation system.
“Ultimately, more efficient shipping, working in partnership with a port sector supported by governments, will be a major driver towards global stability and sustainable development for the good of all people,” Lim said.
He encouraged IMO member states and wider stakeholders in the maritime community to join in with activities and initiatives of World Maritime Day 2017.