Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
IMO reported on 29 November that the organization’s Assembly had elected the following States to be Members of its Council for the 2020-2021 biennium:
Ten States with the largest interest in providing international shipping services:
China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States.
Ten States with the largest interest in international seaborne trade:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
Twenty States not elected under (a) or (b) above, which have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world:
Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
The IMO Council
The Council is the executive organ of IMO and is responsible, under the Assembly, for supervising the work of the Organization. Between sessions of the Assembly, the Council performs all the functions of the Assembly, except that of making recommendations to Governments on maritime safety and pollution prevention.
The newly elected Council met, following the conclusion of the 31st Assembly, for its 123rd session on 5 December.
The IMO Assembly
Convening on 25 November the 31st Assembly of IMO met at IMO HQ to 4 December 2019.
All 174 Member States and three Associate Members are entitled to attend the Assembly, which is IMO’s highest governing body. The intergovernmental organizations with which agreements of co-operation have been concluded and international non-governmental organizations in consultative status with IMO are also invited to attend.
At IMO the Assembly normally meets once every two years in regular session. It is responsible for approving the work programme, voting the budget and determining the financial arrangements of the Organization. It also elects the Organization’s 40-Member Council.
Finally, the IMO Assembly confirmed the re-appointment of IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim for a second four-year term.
The illustration here is reproduced by kind courtesy of IMO ©
One of Maritime Minister Nusrat Ghani’s last duties before leaving office on 13 February was to make a written statement on Light Dues, the means of financing the marine aids to navigation services of the United Kingdom.
In the document she said: ‘A strong and growing maritime industry is vital to the economy of the United Kingdom and it is critical that we treasure and protect this vital artery if we are to remain a world-leading maritime centre.
‘The work of the General Lighthouse Authorities2, which provide and maintain marine aids to navigation and respond to new wrecks and navigation dangers in some of the busiest waters in the world, is crucial to underpinning that vision whilst maintaining our vigorous safety record and continuously improving standards of safety.
‘Reductions in the three General Lighthouse Authorities’ running costs have enabled the UK to reduce light dues on four occasions since 2014. For 2020 to 2021 I intend to freeze light dues rates at 37½ pence per net registered tonne. This will mean that light dues will have fallen by 30% in real terms since 2010.
‘Light dues rates will continue to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that the General Lighthouse Authorities are challenged to provide an effective and efficient service which offers value for money to light dues payers.’
New hubs of business and enterprise will be opened across the UK creating thousands of jobs, regenerating communities and turbocharging Britain’s post-Brexit growth, the Government announced on 10 February.
Up to ten new innovative Freeports will be opened across the UK as the Government seeks to level up the country and seize on the opportunities leaving the EU has presented. This was the style of a news item delivered on behalf of HM Treasury.
A consultation has been launched setting out the Government’s vision for Freeports, with the aim of announcing the location of the new zones at the end of this year so they can be open for business in 2021.
It is understood that once the ten-week consultation is completed, the Government will invite sea, air and rail ports to bid for Freeport status on a competitive basis.
Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, said: ‘Freeports will unleash the potential in our proud historic ports, boosting and regenerating communities across the UK as we level up. They will attract new businesses, spreading jobs, investment and opportunity to towns and cities up and down the country.
‘This is all part of our mission as an open, outward-looking country, championing global free trade with vibrant Freeports that work for all of the UK.’