London International Shipping Week (LISW) Seminar with Hutchison Ports @IMO

Monday 9th September 2019 @09.30-12.30hrs- Panel Debate @IMO’s HQ in N Lambeth, London

Do Ports Need International Regulation…. ?

Opening keynote speeches were ably delivered by the Secretary-General of IMO, – Mr Kitack Lim – , the UK Minister for Maritime, – Ms Nusrat Ghani MP – , and the Executive Director of Hutchison Ports, – Mr Clemence Cheng – , and the Director of the IMO International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI), – Professor David Attard – , to open the LISW at IMO’s HQ in Lambeth, N London.

The IMO Legal Director, – Admiral Fred Kenny – USCG, then chaired a Debate, with a series of questions, where he observed that the IMO Treaty, 1948 referred to All Ships and Merchant Shipping, and endorsed the key note speeches, all of which confirmed that Ports and Harbours were the day-to-day interface between Ship and Shore, where 90% of all international trade is transported by sea.

The MD of the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH), – Patrick Verhoeven – , and the General Counsel (Europe) for Hutchison Ports, – Ms Diana Whitney – , argued that more regulation was not required, since “market forces would prevail”, in a highly competitive commercial market, where “one size does not fit all”.

The Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), – Captain Guy Platten – , argued for a more practical approach to national, regional and international regulation for Ship Owners and Ship Operators.

Comite Maritime International (CMI), represented by Andrew Higgs, sought to argue that (a) it was not more regulation that was required, but instead “better regulation”, (b) that IAPH and leading Ports Owners and Operators, such as Hutchison Ports, really needed to engage more at IMO’s HQ than they appeared to have done hitherto and (c) that it was therefore good news to hear from their representatives on the Panel that this was clearly their intention for the foreseeable future.

Furthermore, Andrew Higgs pointed out that the timing was good, since Stage 1 of the Inter Sessional Working Group (IMODOCS “ISWG/MASS 1/6”) on MASS, and Unmanned Ships, which he had attended the previous week for CMI and IFSMA,, had only just been completed (Friday 6th September 2019) and that (i) so-called “Port State Control” within the legal and regulatory framework of IMO, and (ii) the balance and relationship between flag States and Coastal/Port States, would likely be a key focus for discussion at “MSC 102” in May 2020, where most MSC papers will have to be drafted and submitted to IMO before the end of this year, December 2019.