Economy Minister takes part in Int’l Maritime Assembly in London
By Natalia Kochiashvili
Thursday, November 28
Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia, Natia Turnava attended the 31st International Maritime Assembly in London.
During her speech, the Minister proudly announced that recently Georgia has begun fully integrating maritime transport services and also highlighted the advantages of our corridor, in particular, the infrastructure projects that are planned and implemented in Georgia, which will help increase the competitiveness and attractiveness of the corridor.
“Today, I briefed the representatives of the countries gathered at the Assembly on the launch and use of new technologies in the Georgian port infrastructure,” Turnava commented, noting that the International Maritime Organization brings together about 200 countries and is an excellent platform for collaboration and for sharing achievements.
According to her, Georgia is very active in supporting the global trend, which is expressed in environmental, green and neutral technologies.
While in London, Turnava also held meetings with Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization Kitack Lim and the Chief of US Coast Guard, Admiral Karl Leo Schultz.
The topics discussed during the meeting with Lim included improved regulation of Georgian maritime transport, the new port infrastructure construction and the introduction of “one window” services, as well as opening international labor market for sailors even more and creating the possibilities of working in the world's leading ship owner companies.
At the meeting, Turnava thanked the Secretary-General for the support the union has shown towards the reform of the Georgian maritime transport sector. According to the Minister, although Georgia is a maritime country, its port infrastructure, as well as its maritime training and employment system, is constantly improving.
“The Government of Georgia, together with partner countries and donor organizations, is implementing significant programs and projects aimed at introducing modern maritime transport management practices and enhancing the competitiveness of our country as one of the main providers of maritime services on the Black Sea” – said Turnava, expressing hope that the support and cooperation with maritime organization will deepen.
For his part, the Secretary-General of the Organization positively assessed the ongoing projects with the Georgian side, noting that Georgia is a good example of how much success a country can pursue its ongoing reforms. He also welcomed the tradition of holding international maritime forums in Batumi, which is held every 2 years and has already become an important regional forum where world-class ship-owners and governments of leading maritime countries are discussing the development of the sector.
In the end, the Minister of Economy invited Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization to the Batumi forum, which will be held in 2020.
As for the meeting with Admiral Carl Leo Schultz, the Chief of US Coast Guard, the sides discussed security issues at the Black Sea and agreed to share experience in coastal security, port security, and the state flag.
Special attention was paid to the one-stop-shop project in the Georgian ports, which will be implemented in 2019-2020 to develop Georgia's transit potential. The project aims to provide digital government services in the port sector, freeing vessels from bureaucratic barriers and processing unnecessary documentation. The project is implemented by the LEPL Maritime Transport Agency of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development. The 1st phase of the project "Needs Research" was funded by the US Embassy in Georgia. The first stage involves the inventory of all maritime services and the analysis of the reduction of existing bureaucracy, the second stage involves software development and running.
During the meeting, the sides also discussed the audit of Georgian ports. The US Coast Guard inspects safety standards at Georgian ports every two years. Georgia received the highest rating during the 2018 audit. The next audit is due in 2020.