The Netherlands takes a seat on the International Maritime Organization Council

30 November 2019

During the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Assembly, the Netherlands was elected to the IMO Council. For the next two years, our country has thus secured a seat on the daily board of this United Nations agency. The IMO bears responsibility for the international ocean shipping regulations.

Early this week, Dutch Minister Van Nieuwenhuizen (Infrastructure and Water Management) attended the London conference to garner support for the Dutch candidacy. In her speech during the plenary ope ning session, she advocated safer shipping and more attention to be paid to the sustainability of the maritime sector, in the purview of both crews and the environment.

‘All ships calling on our ports must be safe, as must the 250 thousand ships sailing along the Dutch coast annually. This important seat on the IMO Council will enable the Netherlands to keep safety high on the agenda, thus fostering adequate international agreements on this issue. The container disaster off the Wadden coast, at the beginning of this year, has made our considerable stake in this matter abundantly clear,’ Ms Van Nieuwenhuizen stated. ‘Other issues, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, must also be tackled at the international level. Thus, we will also be able to showcase the Dutch initiatives relating to the greening of the shipping sector.’


Over the past two years, the emphasis has been on agreements to boost the sustainability of ocean shipping, as set down in the Paris climate agreement. In 2018, the member states agreed on a 50 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions by the year 2050. Currently, the ocean shipping sector accounts for some 2.5 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. A significant proportion of next year’s efforts will be focused on agreements on how to achieve this reduction in emissions from seagoing vessels. Within the IMO Environment Committee, the member states are working on proposals for the technical implementation of such emission reduction in actual practice. Components of the Dutch Green Deal regarding cleaner inland and ocean shipping serve as successful examples in this respect.

IMO Assembly

On Friday, 29 November the 174 IMO nations voted on the forty countries that will serve on the Council for the next two years. The seat to be held by the Netherlands on behalf of the Kingdom will be assigned to the Dutch Ambassador in London.