UAE’s ‘competitive advantages’ should help it secure seat in UN maritime body

The country is the only Arab nation vying for a seat in a select executive council of the International Maritime Organisation

Khalifa Port, developed and managed by Abu Dhabi Ports, is one of the UAE's many contributions to the maritime sector. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Ports
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With just days to go until voting takes place to decide which countries should secure seats in a select decision-making body of the International Maritime Organisation, the UAE has reiterated its “highly competitive advantages” which make it a strong candidate for the role.

The UAE is the only Arab country among the 12 countries seeking 10 seats on one of the executive councils of the IMO, known as Category B.

Other countries in the fray include Germany, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil, Argentina, France and Australia, with voting taking place this Friday, December 1.

The IMO, an agency of the United Nations, is a global authority that sets standards for maritime security.

Speaking during the 30th Ordinary General Assembly of the IMO in London on Monday, Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Minister of Infrastructure Development and chairman of the board of directors of the Federal Transport Authority, expressed the UAE’s commitment to providing an ideal environment to further drive the growth of multinational marine companies, supported by its strategic geographic location situated along some of the busiest trade routes in the world.

“The UAE deserves to be an IMO Category B member, given its track record of leadership and excellence in developing world-class ports,” Dr Al Nuaimi said.

He added: “The UAE’s highly competitive advantages in marine shipping are enhanced thanks largely to the guidance and unlimited support of the wise leadership to develop an integrated infrastructure and advanced world-class logistics facilities.”


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The UAE has been a member of the IMO since 1980 and, as Dr Al Nuaimi pointed out, it has signed more than 25 bilateral cooperation agreements in maritime fields, which reflect its commitment to shaping the future of the sector.

“As one of the fastest growing maritime hubs in the world, the UAE seeks to add value to global trade and international maritime transport and shipping. It is committed to promoting the international maritime system and developing and implementing the standards governing maritime transport policy and regulation,” he said.

He added that the UAE will support education projects and training initiatives under the umbrella of the IMO, while on the environmental side, the country is taking a leading role in initiatives to develop environmentally-friendly ports and ships.

In a separate gathering on Tuesday, also in London, delegates heard more about the UAE’s many achievements in the maritime sector which support its candidature.

By numbers: Abu Dhabi Ports handles more than 25,000 ships per year and facilitates a GDP of $17 billion in non-oil revenue to the economy; DP World manages and operates 77 container terminals in 40 countries; and the UAE is third globally in maritime infrastructure quality. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Showcasing these capabilities, Dr Eng Abdullah Salem Al Kathiri, Director General of the UAE Federal Authority for Land and Marine Transport, told the audience that there was no doubting the “tremendous achievements of the UAE maritime sector”.

“The UAE has always believed in the importance of international cooperation,” he said. “Council membership is both a privilege and a very heavy responsibility.”

He added: “Should we have the privilege of being elected to the council for the term 2018-2019, the government of the UAE is fully committed in fulfilling the responsibility of a council member.”