European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) has unveiled its strategic priorities for EU shipping policy, which will guide the association’s activities vis-à-vis International and European regulators for the next five years.

At a high-level event in Brussels, more than 120 industry representatives gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities for the shipping sector at a global and European level.

ECSA President Panos Laskaridis delivered a presentation endorsing the strategic importance of European Shipping. After the key note speakers IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim and DG MOVE Deputy Director-General Maja Bakran, ECSA members and panellists addressed issues of key importance for the EU shipping industry, from competitiveness and trade facilitation at EU and international level to decarbonisation, innovation and the human element.

IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim in particular addressed the decarbonisation challenge. “The adoption of the IMO initial strategy on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from ships and the entry into force of the 0.50% sulphur limit will contribute greatly to the well-being of the planet and its inhabitants. In this regard, the collaboration and cooperation of all stakeholders, in particular the industry and the positive role they play in the regulatory process is of immense value, and greatly appreciated” – he said – “I cannot stress enough how important this year is, in terms of our work and preparation. I can assure you, this year, IMO is focussing on implementing the follow up actions of the initial strategy and eliminating all uncertainties related to IMO 2020 before its entry into force”.

With a new European Parliament and European Commission coming into office in the coming months, ECSA found it timely to stand still and exchange views on how the EU shipping industry can cooperate with its European regulators. ECSA looks forward to a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders in the coming years, to ensure the EU shipping industry continues to prosper. In the words of ECSA’s President Panagiotis Laskaridis “Europe should be proud of its shipping heritage. The EU shipping industry is the most important geostrategic asset of the EU and is committed to turning current challenges into a growth opportunity for Europe.” He added: “We can only retain that position if the policy framework allows and encourages us to be competitive.” Reflecting upon Mr Kitack Lim’s reference to the decarbonisation challenge, President Laskaridis said: “We embrace the challenge and are committed to take the global lead for a greener future. We are working hard to deliver on our sustainable potential, and call for R&D support from the European institutions”.

Learn more about ECSA’s priorities for 2019-2024 here