London, 9 September 2019
On September 9th, 2019, FEPORT SG was invited to participate to a joint IMO/Hutchison Ports seminar held at the International Maritime Organization headquarters as part of the London International Shipping Week.
The main topic of the seminar was “Do ports need international Regulation?”.
Participants were welcomed by Mr Clemence Cheng, Executive Director, Hutchison Ports and Mr Kitack Lim, Secretary General of the IMO.
“The IMO has had a huge impact on shipping, but why shouldn’t the positive benefits of the IMO’s work be felt further throughout supply chains?” said Mr Kitack Lim. “At the very least, the IMO should be a catalyst for dialogue and communication between all maritime stakeholders.”
IMO Director of legal and external affairs, Mr Frederick Kenney, who moderated the panel, noted that most of the IMO’s work is directed towards ships, i.e. maritime safety, protection of the maritime environment and safety of navigation.
Following the opening speeches, Professor David Attard, Director of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute, outlined the role of ports in maritime law and highlighted the importance of enforcing regulations, including through implementation into national law, and the need for capacity building and training.
There was a large consensus among most of the panellists: Ms. Sakura Kuma, Yokohama and Kawasaki International Port (YKIP); and Ms. Diana Whitney, Hutchison Ports, Mr. Patrick Verhoeven, International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH); Mr. Guy Platten, International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) as well as Ms. Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid that the key question is not whether IMO could regulate ports, but whether it should.
FEPORT SG reminded how discussions about ports regulation at the European level have proven to be complex, given the diversity that exists between ports.
“The port industry is a regulated industry, but a lot of it is at local and national level. The playing field for ports is more regional than global, as ports are embedded in local communities.” said Ms Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid.
“When it comes to port efficiency, it is important to remember that it is driven by market and competition. Too much regulation may have the opposite effect and lead to inefficient ports.” continued FEPORT SG.
“I think that, instead of regulating, the IMO should support capacity buiding and dissemination of good practices, and offer to the port indsutry the opportunity to discuss shipping regulations that impact ports” added FEPORT SG.
“What will be also important if port stakeholders get more involved in discussions at IMO is that enhanced communication and cooperation also prevail betwen shipping and port administrrations at national levels” concluded Ms Lamia Kerdjoudj Belkaid.