World Maritime Day continues in Szczecin

Polish Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways Marek Gróbarczyk (Center) PAP/Marcin Bielecki

World Maritime Day, underway in Szczecin, is being attended by numerous foreign ministers and delegations from around the world

This year's meeting of international maritime experts and politicians is devoted, among other issues, to new transport routes in international trade and to digital safety in maritime shipping.

"Poland is and always will be a sea-going country," Polish Minister of Maritime Economy and Inland Waterways Marek Gróbarczyk said during the Thursday official inauguration of the Day.

He stressed that the government's duty is to rebuild Poland's maritime economy. "We are working for future generations of Poles, implementing our projects with the help of state-of-the-art technology and the highest environmental protection standards."

The minister noted that visiting ministers will debate the most important challenges facing maritime shipping and the maritime labour market.

Gróbarczyk recalled that "Poland has been a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since 1960, always engaged in IMO missions, cooperation in the interests of safe, environmentally friendly, efficient and balanced shipping. By organizing the World Maritime Day in our country we want to raise our activity within the IMO. I hereby declare that Poland will run for a seat on the IMO Council in 2019 to join the group of most important sea-going countries in the world."

The minister also envisaged Poland's plans to invest some PLN 25 billion (EUR 5.85 billion) in the coming years in the maritime sector to further develop existing ports and increase the scope of inland navigation among other aims. He added that one of the priorities is the maritime labour market, thus one of the most challenging tasks will be rebuilding the Polish merchant fleet.

In a letter addressed to the participants of the event, Polish President Andrzej Duda wrote: "We want the maritime sector to be a leading segment of Poland's economy. Recent years confirm not only our ambitions but also proof of Poland's potential and achievements which allow our country to play a major role in the Baltic Sea region as well as in European and world maritime cooperation."

According to the president, Poland is a good place for a debate on the future of the maritime economy. "Seas and oceans have always been one of the most important areas of development and establishing contacts (...). Global challenges, dynamically growing international transport and trade, new technologies, new possibilities opening for drawing up new routes" will be discussed in Szczecin, wrote President Duda.

Kitack Lim, secretary-general of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), thanked Poland for hosting this year's World Maritime Day in Szczecin. The official stressed that the IMO's mission is building, in cooperation with its partners, safe and balanced maritime shipping. He added that the organisation faces such challenges as climate change and the introduction of new navigation technologies.

World Maritime Day is the largest maritime festival of the United Nations. Poland is the first Central and Eastern European country chosen to host this prestigious IMO event. The theme of this year's event is "IMO 70: Our heritage - better shipping for a better future." More than 800 guests from around the world are expected to attend the three-day event, including government delegations, maritime ministers, representatives of business, academia and maritime industry experts. The event will end on Friday.