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Live From SMME 2016

Dubai Maritime Week goes federal in adopting UAE moniker

Dubai Maritime Week goes federal in adopting UAE moniker
Dubai Maritime Week is to change its name to UAE Maritime Week next year, announced Guest of Honour Sheikh Mansoor Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum at the end of this week’s third edition of the event.

The UAE Vice President and Prime Minister was speaking at the opening session of the Dubai Maritime Summit 2016 conference organised by Dubai Maritime City Authority, regulatory body for that emirate.

Maritime is “one of the main drivers of the economic ambitions of the UAE,” confirmed Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, the country’s Minister of Infrastructure Development and Chairman of the Federal Transport Authority - Land and Maritime, who also attended. He described the UAE as “the second biggest economy in the Arab world” with as many as 20 different ports.

Guest speaker Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the IMO, tied together some of the main threads of the week’s many varied conference presentations and panel discussions.

Now is a “difficult time” to be in shipping since overcapacity is keeping freight and charter rates low, he began, but the industry “must find a sustainable and viable way forward.” IMO’s role may be technical rather than commercial, but it has a “keen role” in ensuring shipping remains sustainable, he said, which includes being profitable.

In this respect shipping can be aided by “new technology, which will inevitably have dramatic impact on all our lives in the future,” he said, but presents “challenges as well as opportunities.” This chimed with the many views on “smart shipping” - both for and against - that had been expressed during the week. 

Lim pointed to IMO’s agreement on a data collection system related to shipping emissions as one such example of new technology. The system was adopted at last week’s “very successful” 70th MEPC (Marine Environment Protection Committee) meeting, he said, along with a roadmap for future reduction of shipping’s GHG emissions, and implementation of the global sulphur cap of 0.5% from the earlier date of 2020.

Such environmental regulations are viewed by many in the industry as an “unnecessary burden,” said the IMO secretary general. Whereas in fact they represent a collective decision by the governments of the world “for the betterment of all.”

Besides, tougher regulations may lead to the earlier phasing out of non-compliant tonnage, which would assist the industry with its overcapacity problem and help restore profitability, he concluded.

Other events during Dubai Maritime Week included the Seatrade Maritime Middle East exhibition and conference, regional Seatrade Maritime Awards and 61st ISSA (International Ship Suppliers’ Association) annual convention and exhibition.

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