Kitack Lim, Secretary-General of the IMO, made a formal visit to Russia September 16-20, his first visit to the Russian Federation since he was elected Secretary-General in 2015.
Lim met with top officials of the Transport Ministry to discuss greenhouse gas emissions and the sulfur emission requirements due to come into effect in 2020. With Maxim Sokolov, Minister of Transport, and other officials, he also discussed administrative pressures on ship crews and the introduction of electronic workflow support.
Lim set two main goals for his visit to Russia. “First of all, it is a meeting with Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov in Moscow which was very successful and fruitful. We have discussed dozens of issues like global warming, fuel standards, shipping regulations and other topics related to cooperation between IMO and Russia. I have felt mutual understanding, and I see a great potential of our interaction.”
He visited the training sailing ship Nadezhda to talk to cadets. “The Russian system of training seafarers has always been highly esteemed worldwide. This meeting with the young people was yet another confirmation for me,” said Lim. “I saw motivation in the eyes of Russian cadets – future seafarers," he said.
Tokyo MoU Meeting
Lim visited the office of Russia’s leading shipping company Sovcomflot and took part in the work of the Tokyo MoU Committee and business conference in Vladivostok on September 18. “The key task of today’s meeting attended by representatives of all member authorities in the Asia-Pacific region is the cooperation of efforts, standardization of norms and regulations and overall harmonization of the industry’s work. I think that close cooperation will ensure more efficient development,” said Lim.
“During the meeting Russia brought up an issue of cooperation between the Tokyo MoU and the IMO, and I agree with your country’s position – this cooperation should be enhanced,” Lim told local media. “Port control in different regions of the world is regulated by separate MoUs. It is very important for us to improve and expand cooperation between those MoUs."
Ports in the Far East
Lim also visited the Far East. “Vast waterside, availability of port facilities and cargo base, neighboring to APR countries’ economies as well as new thoroughfares as the Northern Sea Route – all this ensures the enormous potential for the territory development. First of all, it is about the ports of Vladivostok and Vostochny,” said Lim.
During a visit to Vostochny Port, Lim was shown measures taken to minimize the impact of coal transshipment activities. These include a water sprinkling system, multi-level system of air and water purification and wind shelter facilities. The area made headlines recently when a schoolboy complained to Russian President Vladimir Putin about the air quality as a result of coal dust.
Vostochny Port is Russia's largest dedicated open access coal port. In 2016, coal throughput at the terminal reached 23.5 million tons, a fifth of all coal exports from Russia's seaports and about 30 percent of coal transshipment in the ports of the Far Eastern basin. Since the port's completion, 390 million tons of coal have been exported through the facility, 6.6 million rail cars have been handled and 28,000 vessels have been received at the port.
The opinions expressed herein are the author's and not necessarily those of The Maritime Executive.