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Port organisations work to give the ports sector a stronger, unified voice

A roundtable meeting of port organisations met in London’s Baltic Exchange to pool resources and prioritise efforts on meeting IMO regulations on safety, environment and operations

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Heads of leading associations for the world port community met to establish a "Roundtable" with view to establishing a stronger, unified voice of the port sector in the maritime industry as a whole. The new Secretary General of ICS also joined the meeting in London to discuss cooperation throughout the entire seaborne supply chain.


Attending the meeting were: Nick Cutmore, Secretary General IMPA (pilots); Spencer Eade, Secretary General, ISSA (ship suppliers); Ole Krebs, MCP, IPCSA (port community systems); Jonathan Williams, General Manager, FONASBA (ship agents); Patrick Verhoeven, Managing Director, IAPH (ports and harbors); Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS); and Rachael White, CEO Secretariat, ICHCA (cargo handlers). The first four mentioned are standing L to R in the accompanying picture, with the latter three also L to R and seated.

See text above for who's who at the meeting
See text above for who's who at the meeting

Each association drew up its main priorities moving ahead with all parties agreeing to collaborate closely on existing and new projects and programmes, particularly those associated with meeting IMO regulations on safety, environment and operations.


During the discussion, follow up actions were planned on several projects and programmes in which several roundtable member organisations are already involved together:

  • Maritime Anti-Corruption Network
  • Navigating a Changing Climate
  • Taskforce Port Call Optimisation
  • World Ports Sustainability Program

Other priorities discussed included the adoption of "single window" data information exchange between all port players as well as the impact of autonomous vessels on safety. The group also looked at other key port industry hot topics including container weighing standard processes, ISPS adoption, e-maritime and ship reporting, electronic FAL documentation use, CTU packing codes, safe mooring procedures and maritime signage.

The newly appointed Secretary General of ICS, Guy Platten, was also invited to join the meeting to discuss how the ports and shipping sectors could work closer together to achieve common objectives.

Exploratory talks included the adoption of an inclusive ’supply chain approach’ towards greenhouse gas emission reductions, bunkering solutions to tackle the IMO 0.5% global sulphur cap on fuel by 2020 and the optimisation of port calls to the benefit of all parties.

Patrick Verhoeven, who is principal coordinator of IAPH’s World Ports Sustainability Program, stated: "This first Roundtable meeting of international port organisations sets the ball rolling in terms of sharing information and resources between key players in the port community, and providing a united voice in global fora such as the various working committees of the IMO. This follows the first ever ports-specific meeting earlier this year at IMO headquarters in London which aimed at bringing shipping and port interests closer together"

Guy Platten commented: "It is in the mutual interests of shipping and ports to cooperate more closely. The future availability and quality of onshore power facilities as well as quality low-sulphur fuel and LNG bunkering infrastructure in ports will be of vital importance to owner-operators. Optimising ports calls through better use of data, standardisation of procedures and digitalisation will also create a win-win situation for shipping and ports."

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