In a major development, Singapore has been re-elected to the council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for a 14th consecutive two-year term, says a press release published on Singapore Transport Department website.
How Crucial Is Singapore’s Inclusion?
As a major port state of a vital shipping lane, Singapore brings balanced perspectives to challenges that the shipping industry faces, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan said in a statement last Friday before the election.
The election was held in London on Friday. Mr Khaw led a delegation comprising officials from the Ministry of Transport and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore.
Singapore Reiterates IMO Commitment
In a statement from the ministry on Saturday, Mr Khaw said Singapore is honoured to be re-elected to the IMO Council and grateful for the support of its fellow IMO member states. “We will continue to contribute actively towards the IMO’s goals,” said Mr Khaw.
Singapore in IMO
Singapore was first elected to the IMO Council in 1993 and has since been re-elected to the council by the IMO assembly, which is held every two years. The council is made up of 40 member states.
Singapore Maritime Industry
Singapore’s maritime industry, including the marine and off-shore engineering sector, employs more than 170,000 people and contributes 7 per cent to Singapore’s economy.
How Singapore Will Strengthen IMO?
In the candidature statement on Friday, Mr Khaw said Singapore hopes to contribute to the IMO in three main areas: Technical cooperation and capacity building, maritime safety and sustainable shipping.
He highlighted the disruptions brought about by digitalisation and decarbonisation in a separate, general statement at the assembly.
Why IMO is important?
He said the IMO’s leadership is especially important at a time when international shipping is trying to cope with these disruptions.
“While digitalisation creates opportunities and benefits, (it) can reach its full potential only when data flows are seamless across borders. Standardisation is key to supporting cross-border data flows,” said Mr Khaw, who is also Coordinating Minister for Infrastructure.
The IMO, the shipping agency of the United Nations, was established in 1948 to facilitate cooperation among governments on technical matters affecting international shipping, such as maritime safety and the prevention of pollution from ships. It also deals with legal matters connected with international shipping and the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
Digitalisation & Climate Change Stress
He said this is why Singapore allows local digital platforms of ports, shipping and logistic companies to inter-operate. “This way, we can achieve e-port clearance globally.”
Mr Khaw added that digitalisation carries increased risks of cyber security threats.
“To eliminate this downside, we need global collaboration. Together with other like-minded port authorities, Singapore is promoting a set of standard operating procedures to share information on cyber security incidents,” he said.
He also highlighted the issue of climate change, urging the IMO to press on with more research, de-velopment efforts and discussions to reach consensus on appropriate measures for the global shipping community.
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Source: Singapore Transport Department