FINLAND is hoping for a position on the International Maritime Organization Council in the 2024-2025 biennium.

At an election later this year – slated for 1 December 2023 – the IMO Assembly will elect 40 states as members of the council.

The council is divided into three categories: 10 states are elected for their interest in providing international shipping services (category a), 10 have an interest in seaborne trade (category b) and 20 have special interests in maritime transport or navigation and would ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world (category c).

Finland was not a member of the IMO Council in 2022-2023, but it is in the running for a position in category c.

The nation is promoting sustainable shipping, new technologies and education and equality in maritime transport as the election approaches.

Speaking to media, Anita Mäkinen, alternate permanent representative of Finland to the IMO, recalled the unanimous adoption of the 2023 IMO GHG Strategy earlier this year.

“However, now we need to start the real work,” Dr Mäkinen said.

“The first step was to establish a steering committee to consider the impacts on states from those interim time measures,” she said.

“We have had one meeting; there is another coming, we have a very tight time schedule, and so we should have something ready already for MEPC 81 to take place in April next year, and we have had quite tough discussions there already now, and more to come for sure.

“For example, our idea is to ensure level playing field from our side, which means this shipping in ice covered waters.”

Finland is the only country where all ports freeze during a typical winter.

“The next issue … are these green corridors, which are not measures at IMO, but they gave been developed globally on a voluntary basis.”

Dr Mäkinen said the green corridors are considered to be a good measure in energy transfer. She also highlighted a focus on automation and digitalisation of shipping in Finland.

“We would like to be one of the forerunners using automation and digitalisation. To decrease greenhouse gas emissions and also improve maritime safety,” she said.

As of early October 2023, there are 11 countries in the running for category a at the IMO council, 20 countries for category b and 25 for category c.

Australia sits on the council in 2022-2023 in category b, which comprises states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade.

DCN was in Finland as a guest of Business Finland. Further coverage will appear in upcoming DCN magazine editions.