Shipping: Indispensable to the World
Shipping is indispensable to the world. That was the message shared around the world as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the global maritime community celebrated the annual World Maritime Day on September 29.
World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.
Each World Maritime Day has its own theme. For 2016, the theme was “Shipping: indispensable to the world”—chosen to focus on the critical link between shipping and the everyday lives of people all over the planet, and to raise awareness of the role of IMO as the global regulatory body for international shipping. The importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today’s global society gives IMO’s work a significance that reaches far beyond the industry itself.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 80 percent of global trade by volume and over 70 percent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide. These shares are even higher in the case of most developing countries.
A single ship can carry enough grain to feed nearly four million people for a month; another, enough oil to heat an entire city for a year, and others can carry the same amount of finished goods as nearly 20,000 heavy trucks on the road. Ships are among the engineering wonders of the modern world. People all over the world rely on ships to transport the commodities, fuel, foodstuffs, goods and products that are so vital in their everyday lives.
“As the World Maritime Day theme for 2016 so rightly acknowledges, shipping is indispensable to the world, and is set to remain central to world economic growth as we make the inevitable transition towards an era of clean and sustainable development,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in his annual World Maritime Day Message. “This is a message that needs, and deserves, a wider audience.”
“The importance of shipping in supporting and sustaining today’s global society makes it indispensable to the world, and to meeting the challenge of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement.