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Shipowner trade bodies to extend co-operation

Shipping is international in its scope, but its lobby groups are often regional. A new MoU seeks to bring more co-ordination to the efforts of shipowners to have their voices heard

As the regulation of shipping becomes more globalised, regional shipowner groups are coming together to support each others’ efforts

SHIPOWNER lobby groups the International Chamber of Shipping, the Asian Shipowners’ Association and the European Community Shipowners’ Association have signed a memorandum of understanding about how they will co-operate together.

Singed at a ceremony in during Singapore Maritime Week, the MoU codifies the co-operation that already exists between the three groups and provides a framework for closer collaboration.

“Shipping is a global industry requiring global rules,” said ICS chairman Esben Poulsson. “It is only natural that as the representatives of the world’s national shipowner associations that we should further cement our relationships to ensure that we work as effectively as possible in support of a global regulatory framework for shipping and in opposition to unwelcome regional or unilateral initiatives that may impede the efficiency of maritime trade.”

The MoU confirms the roles of ICS, ASA and Ecsa, which between them represent 90% of the world’s fleet, as the principal global and regional associations, but also acknowledges the respective memberships of national shipowners’ association and the special relationships their members have with national governments.

ASA president Bhumindr Harinsuit said it was vital that the interests of Asian shipping, which control an increasingly large proportion of the world fleet, were properly represented at the global level.

“It is of utmost importance that shipowners outside our region are fully aware of local developments that may affect their operations,” he said.

Ecsa president Panagiotis Laskaridis said the increasing role of supranational bodies such as the European Union in regulatory developments mean cooperation with ICS and ASA allowed ECSA to enhance its joint efforts to represent shipowners and the International Maritime Organization, or when dealing with EU institutions.

The main areas of co-operation between the organisations will be in shipping and trade policy matters; maritime law, legal affairs and insurance issues; technical and operational matters, including safety of life at sea and maritime security, environmental protection, ship construction, navigational safety and ship management; labour affairs and seafarer training; and the promotion of best practice throughout the industry.

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