Dubai: The UAE has been re-elected to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in the Category B membership for the third time, following comprehensive efforts and an intensive election campaign leading up to the elections.
Through its landmark initiatives, the UAE continues playing an active role in strengthening the national maritime sector, while contributing to the growth of the global maritime and logistics industry.
The results of the election were announced earlier on Friday during the 32nd session of the IMO Assembly in London, which was will conclude on December 15, 2021.
On being re-elected, the UAE received international praise for its pivotal role in developing strategies, policies and agreements that enhancing maritime safety standards, protecting the marine environment and enhance the efficiency of the global industry.
Expressing his delight on the occasion, Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, "The UAE has reaffirmed its leading status as a vital maritime centre in the world with this achievement. Our re-election to the Council of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) for the third consecutive time has further strengthened our active role in developing the sector and enhancing maritime safety standards, as well as protecting the marine environment globally. Through our efforts, we have been ranked as one of the most influential countries in developing the maritime industry."
"It is encouraging to see our efforts being recognised internationally. Even after our election in 2017, we made huge strides within the sector locally, with a focus on catering to regional and global maritime needs in terms of providing the best infrastructure and top-class services. Our competencies have helped us gain the status of being a key global maritime hub, and today our efforts have actualised. The sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP is AED90 billion annually. Our ports handled over 15 million TEUs during 2020, and there were over 25,000 port calls in the UAE during the same year. UAE’s national fleet capacity stands at 21 million DWT. Our national fleet in 2020 consisted of 970 vessels. The re-election has further encouraged us to continue our work with member states to advance the global maritime sector by achieving the safety, security, and efficiency of maritime transport," Al Mazrouei added.
The UAE has been a frontrunner in several global competitiveness indicators in the maritime sector. The country was ranked 3rd in transport services trade and Bunker Supply Index. It ranked fifth as a key competitive maritime hub and 13th globally in Port Performance and Efficiency Index. The country’s ports rank among the top 10 internationally in the volume of container handling. There are over 27,000 maritime companies in the UAE and the country's ports rank among the top worldwide.
Hassan Mohamed Juma Al-Mansoori, Undersecretary for the Infrastructure and Transport Sector at the UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure , said, "The UAE is, without doubt, a leader in the maritime world, and has immensely contributed to the growth of global trade and shipping, while making major contributions to the industry by taking pioneering steps to protect and safeguard their interests. We have the world’s best infrastructure and technology deployed at our ports. Our strategic location has contributed to its position of being a leading hub for maritime trade in the Arabian Gulf states, East Africa and the Indian subcontinent. During the COVID-19 pandemic, all ports in the UAE were kept open to facilitate maritime trade and keep the supply chains functioning. It is truly an honour to be re-elected to the Council owing to the hard work that we and our industry partners in the country have put in."
The UAE has been contributing to the maritime sector in multiple aspects. It was one of the first IMO Member States to designate seafarers as key workers during the Covid-19 pandemic and supported them by facilitating crew change, administering vaccinations and providing them access to medical care.
Apart from this, as part of its continued efforts to support the sector, the country has also established the UAE unified national single window framework and its National Committee which integrates maritime, aviation, land and railways transport sectors. This has further enhanced trade through a single digital gateway, enabling the country to operate ports in 50 countries.
It has also been championing women’s rights in the maritime sector. In this regard, the country is currently chairing the Arab Women in the Maritime Association (AWIMA), which is working with the IMO’s Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP) to support women in the maritime sector to achieve the fifth UN Sustainable Development Goal of establishing gender equality. It is also one of the founding members of the IMOGENder, a network of IMO delegates working to achieve gender equality.
Hessa Al Malek, Advisor to the Minister for Maritime Transport Affairs, UAE Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure, said, "It is a moment of pride for us to be elected alongside other countries that have been doing great work for the sector. With this win, the UAE has demonstrated its active role in strengthening the maritime sector through a series of initiatives, as a result of which we have received international acclaim. We have been at the forefront when it comes to women’s participation in the industry. We also contributed to drafting the IMO Assembly Resolution A.1147 (31) ‘Preserving the Legacy of the World Maritime Theme for 2019 and Achieving a Barrier-Free Working Environment for Women in the Maritime Sector’ which was adopted at the thirty-first session of IMO Assembly in 2019. All this has culminated in another milestone achievement for us."
Promising future The UAE is an active contributor to the IMO activities through its positive and effective engagement and participation in all the works of the Assembly, Council, main technical committees, sub-committees, and related working groups.
Mohammed Khamis Al Kaabi, UAE Permanent Representative at the IMO, said, "Through its membership in the IMO, the UAE will continue to contribute to developing the global maritime sector. In cooperation with the Member States of IMO, UAE has participated in a proposal to develop the best approach of regulatory scoping exercise on Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) under the Maritime Safety Committee and Legal Committee. The UAE has recently contributed to several amendments in the IMO such as submitting a proposal to increase the members of the organisation’s council to consist of 52 members instead of 40 members, in addition to the proposal to increase the term of office of the Council to 4 years. The UAE has also contributed to the work of the Legal Committee by submitting a decision to develop new measures to prevent unlawful practices associated with the fraudulent registration and fraudulent registries of ships. It also contributed to the work of the Technical Cooperation Committee by preparing a draft decision related to funding and partnership arrangements for an effective and sustainable integrated technical cooperation programme. Our re-election has boosted our confidence and will thus prompt us to consolidate our efforts to accelerate the growth of the sector."
As part of the Council, the UAE contributed to the IMO’s efforts to the establish the World Maritime University in Malmo, Sweden, since its inception in 1983, through its active membership in the Board of Governors and Executive Committee, between 1983 and 1991. In addition to this, UAE has also participated in national and international forums aimed at conveying and exchanging experiences in maritime education and training.