More efficient implementation of port regulations needed

IMO headquarters. Credit: IMO

A debate regarding whether there should be increased international port regulation, which took place as one of the many kick-off events for London International Shipping Week, concluded that more efficient implementation of international regulations at the local level will be more effective as opposed to introducing additional regulations.

The event was hosted jointly by Hutchison Ports and the International Maritime Law Institute (IMLI) and took place at the International Maritime Organization (IMO) headquarters.

Professor David Attard, director at the IMLI, summarised the crux of the debate: ports fall within the sovereignty of the state, so for international regulations to apply, it is up the local and regional governments to implement it.

Guy Platten, secretary general at the International Chamber of Shipping, outlined five key areas where better implementation is needed. These are; compliance, safety, bunkering operations, bribery and corruption, and information sharing. Platten placed an emphasis on improving ship-to–shore communication especially for bunkering operations and in light of the looming 2020 low sulphur cap

This view was echoed by Patrick Verhoeven, managing director of the International Association of Ports and Harbors, who added that there are few international regulations that are currently directed at ports. If there were more regulations to be implemented, ports would need to be more involved in the drafting of legislation that affects them, he said.

The overall consensus from the panel seemed to be that there has to be an agreement between all stakeholders on what areas need to be focused on to improve operations, as opposed to drafting more regulation, as more regulation can lead to inefficiency in ports.