Trade & investment

ICC urges compliance with international shipping code

  • 28 May 2004

ICC calls on governments to urgently process applications for ISPS Code compliance before the 1 July 2004 deadline and warns that failure to meet the deadline could seriously disrupt or at worse bring to a halt the flow of international commerce.

The new International Ship and Port Facility Security Code (ISPS Code) is intended to enable better monitoring of freight flows, to combat smuggling and to respond to the threat of terrorist attacks. It requires shipping terminals and shipping lines to appoint security officers at transhipment facilities and aboard their vessels, respectively, to ensure that security measures and procedures are observed.

Countries that fail to observe the regulations will be blacklisted by the International Maritime Organization (IMO). This would effectively exclude them from world trade since bona-fide shipping operators will avoid them. The regulations must be ratified and brought into force by 109 countries worldwide by the deadline.

ICC urges governments to expeditiously review and process applications for ISPS Code compliance for their respective port facilities and to approve and issue (where appropriate) ISPS certificates for vessels which operate under their national flag as quickly as possible.

During its 27 May meeting, the ICC Committee on Maritime Transport supported the new ISPS Code as a way to create a safe and secure international maritime shipping regime.

However, with the code implementation deadline rapidly approaching, the vast majority of vessels and port facilities remain out of compliance. According to a survey report by the IMO, only about 9% of 20,722 ships have had their security measures certified, while 57% have submitted plans for approval. In the case of ports, only 5.4% of the 5,578 surveyed have had their security measures approved.

The ICC’s Committee on Maritime Transport warns that failure to meet the July deadline could also result in distortions in competition between ports, operators and countries, and could have longer term implications for businesses and national economies.

The Committee on Maritime Transport represents a global membership of the maritime business community, including shippers, carriers and ship owners.