Seafarers take centre stage at upcoming summit in Manila

Press Release: The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), the International Maritime Employers’ Council Ltd. (IMEC) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) are joining forces to host a summit solely focused on the shaping the future of an industry that ensures seafarers remain at its heart – in Manila on 26 June 2023. 


Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Gilbert H. Houngbo will open the aptly titled ‘Shaping the Future of Shipping – Seafarer 2050’ summit, which aims to highlight the elements required for a successful transformation of seafarers’ roles to meet the needs of shipping in the future. This will include education and training, building capacity and resilience, recruitment and retention of seafarers, and ensuring that any transition is safe, equitable and human-centric. Recruitment and retention is critical at the moment as it has been estimated that by 2026 the shipping industry will need an additional 90,000 seafarers to keep trade moving. 


The summit will bring together government ministers, regulators, shipowners, employers, unions, industry leaders and technology and infrastructure providers into one room to discuss the requirements for seafarers in 2050. As one of the largest providers of seafarers worldwide, the Philippines offers the perfect location to discuss the future of the seafarer workforce. 


Secretary of the Department of Transportation of the Philippines, Jamie Bautista, commented: 


“The upcoming conference in Manila is a key moment in shipping and also for the Philippines as a nation. It is well known that the Philippines is the seafaring capital of the world, and our seafarers are not only integral to the future of the shipping industry but also to our country’s economy. We are currently at a crossroad as the industry evolves to a greener and more digital operating environment, with ambitious climate goals to meet by 2050 and new emerging technologies, but one thing is key and that is that seafarers need to be central in the discussions. I am encouraged to see many industry leaders joining the conference and urge fellow Ministers in the region to join in on the conversations. I look forward to discussing the future of our seafarers in June”. 


This invitation-only summit will also consider the risks to shipping and global trade inherent in industry transformation, and the investments and changes that will need to be made to ensure that sufficient numbers of skilled seafarers are available to fulfil the requirements of shipping in 2050. 


International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) Secretary General Guy Platten commented: 


“The Covid-19 pandemic shone the light on how vital our seafarer workforce is to modern life. Seafarers are an incredibly valuable asset and we need to ensure that this is recognised at the highest levels. The Seafarer 2050 summit is our opportunity to bring together the shipping industry and determine how we can continue to shape a better future for seafarers and ensure no one gets left behind in the green energy transition.” 


Belal Ahmed, Chairman of the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC) commented: 


“Our industry is facing unprecedented challenges due to climate change and the new technology introduction at a rapid pace. Shipping is vital to global trade and our seafarers are in the centre of this industry. IMEC, ITF and ICS recognises that only working together we can face these challenges and ensure our seafarers are trained, taken care of and fit for world of sustainable shipping. The Seafarer 2050 summit will focus not only on the issues we need to work together but also need for a global consensus to support our seafarers ”. 


Stephen Cotton, General Secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) added: 


“The cooperation we saw during the pandemic-related crew change crisis allowed employers and seafarers’ unions to recognise our common challenges and the strength we have when we speak with one clear voice.” 


“We welcome this global partnership being taken to the next level with the inclusion of governments from leading maritime nations such as the Philippines. This event is about looking out to 2050, to set out the practical plans needed for a Just Transition and a future-proof workforce.” 


More information on the Shaping the Future of Shipping – Seafarer 2050 Summit can be found here.

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