The second Georgia International Maritime Forum has been officially opened with an opening speech from the Prime Minister of Georgia Mr. Mamuka Bakhtatdze. In his speech the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of the maritime industry for the Georgia’s economy declaring it as one of the crucial priorities for the country. He also talked about significant initiatives and plans of the government of Georgia aiming at fostering the development of the maritime industry in Georgia.
In his speech the Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization Mr. Kitack LIM expressed his gratitude towards the government of Georgia for organizing the Georgia International Maritime Forum 2018 highlighting his expectations for future progress of Georgia. During his speech the Secretary-General talked about the importance of the maritime industry and its development perspectives in the era of the technological advancements. He also highlighted the huge importance of the collective efforts for achieving efficient and sustainable development of the industry, like cutting the emissions. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Kitack LIM is attending the Georgia International Maritime Forum for the second time. Last year he extremely positively described his experience of participation in the forum. #GIMF2018
The forum proceeded with Ministerial Keynote addresses with participation of high officials and company representatives from Georgia, Cyprus, Ukraine, Hellenic Republic, Romania, Singapore.
Mrs. Natasa Pilides (Shipping Deputy Minister to the President of Cyprus) in her address talked about the standards of the shipping industry implemented by IMO and the importance of keeping a constructive dialogue to find ways to tackle with the challenges the maritime industry is facing.
Mr. Andrew Tan (Chief Executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore) reviewed the success story of Singapore as a global maritime hub for connectivity, innovation and talent attributing their success to the long-term planning approach. He also shared his recommendations for achieving success in maritime industry:
• Taping on digital innovations
• Building innovative eco-system
• Developing future-ready maritime workforce
To introduce his speech Mr. Mark O’neil (President of Columbia Ship Management LTD) shared his positive first impression about Georgia saying he felt the focus and the attention from the Georgian Government straight from the customs. He briefly reviewed the story of Columbia Ship Management and their activities in Georgia. Mr. O’neil also highlighted the importance of crew members and their standards and approach towards training them.
The discussion panel (Sailing Towards Roaring Twenties - Challenges for International Shipping Industry) was held in the frame of the forum moderated by Mr. Andrew Wrobel with participation of representatives of important organizations. During the panel the issues of the sustainability, challenges, perspectives and protectionism in the maritime industry were discussed.
Mr. Reinhard Klingen (Director General for waterways and shipping (BMVI, Federal Republic of Germany) initially expressed his gratitude towards the government of Georgia for the opportunity to participate in the event. He highlighted the importance of the shipping industry for economy mentioning the challenges to achieve sustainable development of the industry. In addition, Mr. Klingen saw the robust regulatory framework as the best tool to combat protectionism in the sphere. In the end, he shared his views about Georgia and its potential to become an important connecting hub of Europe and Asia.
Captain Moin Ahmed (Director General, The international mobile satellite organization) briefly talked about IMSO role and functions. He also talked about sustainability of the industry that is greatly affected by the following factors: knowledge, capacity, efficiency. As he mentioned, the enthusiasm, identification of objectives, commitment and strategic approach are crucial for achieving success in the maritime industry.
Mr. Markku Mylly (Executive director, European Maritime Safety Agency) talked about the importance of the sustainability for the society as a whole. As a part of challenges of the industry he mentioned sustainability focus, capacity building for crew/seafarers and employment of technological advancements like data collection and analysis. In the end of his speech he congratulated Georgia on its remarkable results achieved so far for the development of the maritime industry.
During the panel discussions, Ms. Sue Barrett (Director of transport, EBRD) gave a brief overview of the finance projects across the EBRD region with both public and private sector sponsors, like capacity building training programs to help various stakeholders understand calculations of emissions and methods to reduce them. She also mentioned the importance of working tightly with IMO for putting comprehensive framework in practice in order to ensure sustainable development.
Capt. David C. Barata - (Commanding officer, U.S. coast guard activities Europe) in his presentation talked about USCG activities and technical assistance programs, like organization of seminars. He highlighted the importance of legislation and legal frameworks for achieving sustainable development. He positively assessed the realized activities helping build mutual trust and understanding
Panel II - Role of blue growth, maritime clusters and major projects in facilitation of international trade was opened by Ms. Tamara Ioseliani, the director of LEPL Maritime Transport Agency. In her opening address, Ms. Tamara talked about future trends of the shipping industry that MTA Offers to the industry, like: digitalization, high standards for maritime cyber security and inter-connectivity. She also highlighted the importance of implementing new and innovative approaches and mentioned some upcoming projects that will favor optimization of port operations. Among these projects are: implementation of a single window for all Georgian shipping related services, as well as creation of Georgian maritime cluster. She particularly stressed the importance of Anaklia Deep Water Port development aiming at converting Georgian into one of the key players in the region.
Mr. Davit Peradze (Director General of Georgian Railway LLC) - gave a presentation Georgian railway: focus area for freight transportation. He overviewed some major ongoing and completed projects, like creation of association of Georgia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan offering single tariff, one stop shop service for customers and so on. In addition, he presented some trends of 2018 like hosting the highest number of container quantity in the history of GR. Mr. Davit also gave some reasons for success: market orienting pricing, improved economic activities, cooperation with partners, scheduled block trains.
In his presentation Mr. Levan Akhvlediani (CEO of Anaklia Development Consortium) gave a brief overview of some indices about Georgia and talked about factors contributing to the success Georgia has achieved so far, like ease of doing business, freedom of economy, tax burdens, free trade agreements and so on. The main focus of Mr. Levan’s presentation was Anaklia Deep Water Port project, its importance and future potential it will create for Georgia.
The panel was moderated by Mrs. Despina Panayiotou-Theodosiou CEO at Tototheo Maritime and president at WISTA International.