The challenges of new container weighing rules, formulating plans for reducing maritime emissions and extending influence over key UN agencies were all in a year’s work for the Global Shippers Forum GSF, as outlined in the group’s 2016 annual report.
The report, which was launched at the annual meeting in Sri Lanka, looks back at a challenging year during which GSF played a pivotal role in influencing the shape of the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) new container weighing regulations. As a member of the International Cargo Handling Co-ordination Association (ICHCA), GSF was able to lobby for the ‘method 2’ calculated weight option to provide much-needed flexibility for shippers to be able to comply with the new rules according to national implementation arrangements.
During the past 12 months, GSF has worked in partnership with the World Shipping Council (WSC), TT Club of insurers and ICHCA to give advice and assist with implementation of the new rules. It has also worked with the Baltic and International Maritime Council (BIMCO) to develop a joint BIMCO/GSF standard contract which was launched in 2015 to provide carriers and shippers with a fair and balanced contract for container shipments for the ?rst time.
The Sri Lanka Shippers’ Council was welcomed into membership in June 2015 – GSF now has a membership of 32 national and regional shippers’ organisations from all the major regions in the world. The annual meeting was held in the Sri Lankan capital Columbo to mark the Sri Lankan Shippers’ Council’s 50th anniversary.
GSF Secretary General Chris Welsh said: “It’s certainly been a busy year, as reflected by our annual report. The IMO container weighing rules are a good compromise for GSF and illustrate the important role the forum plays in influencing decision-making.
“GSF has gone from strength-to-strength since it incorporated in 2011 and now has 32 members from across the globe. The Brexit vote makes GSF’s role all the more important for UK members as we will soon have to trade internationally as a country and not rest on Europe any longer.”
GSF identified one of its key priorities as extending its influence with the main UN agencies, such as IMO, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the UN Committee for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Customs Organization.
Mr Welsh said: “We have made considerable progress in that regard. Our influence is growing within these organisations and it is encouraging that the new Secretary General of ICAO, Dr Fang Liu, has invited GSF to become directly involved in developing its air cargo initiatives.”
Developing meaningful proposals to combat shipping and aviation emissions has also been on the agenda this year. GSF is on the IMO correspondence group which is working on a carbon dioxide data collection system and has been pressing for additional data elements to include transport work so that shippers will be able to accurately measure their maritime emissions and determine the energy efficiency of vessels.