SATOSHI INOUE: "Without highly developed port industry Russia can't develop itself in the future"

Member ports of the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) handle some 60% of the world sea-borne trade and 90% of all containerized cargo today. Satoshi Inoue, Secretary General of the Association, tells PortNews IAA about IAPH activities and its cooperation with Russian Association of Sea Commercial Ports.

- Mr. Inoue, what is the impact of the world financial crisis on shipping industry and port business?

- Of course, world economic crisis influences global trading in general. In late 90-ies global economy could see how the crisis in Asia rapidly spread around the world. It took about three to four years to get back to normal. And this time I think the world economy will be strong enough to return to normal trend of growth.

- Which countries are the most dynamic in terms of development of port operation and where is the most favorable legislative environment for that?

- It should be actually discussed from different points of view. Speaking about the rates of development growth everybody can agree that China is the first while in terms of modernization and service quality development I think Northern part of Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, Germany) are the leaders today.

As for legislative environment, generally most of the countries today are really pushing forward the growth of their ports. Many political leaders in many countries clearly recognize now how important the ports are for their future development though I don't see any country to distinguish right now.

- What is your opinion about operation of Russian ports? What are advantages and disadvantages of Russian port industry?

- Generally speaking Russia's economy is obviously strong for the future although you have a number of problems to overcome like any other country but RussiaRussia can't grow and develop itself in the future. In this respect Russia has a good opportunity as it has geographical advantages. On the one hand you have a really fast growing economy like that of China, IndiaUSA. For Russia it is very important to be between. has necessary strength to cope with them. At the same time, without highly developed port industry even and Hong Kong, and on the other hand you do have a very much mature economy of Europe or So apart from many things, location and industry in general are quite favorable for promotion of the transportation industry. But of course, like any major ports in the world, you have to modernize yourself to meet a certain level of the global standard. Without this even though you have so many advantages compared with others, you will be really not able to materialize the potential you do have.

- What is the opinion of the world port community about investment projects in Russian ports? What problems do foreign investors encounter in Russia?

- Many global industries are interested in coming to this country in order to expand their production. I'm quite sure that under your current government system your country is getting quite open to the world. There are probably some skill problems though the situation is improving from year to year.

- How does the International Association of Ports and Harbours cooperate with the Russian Association of Sea Commercial Ports? How close are the ties between the two organizations?

- In 60-ies may be 70-ies we had a very close ties between the Russian port association and the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH). But unfortunately those close ties somewhat disappeared and never restored until now. My guess was that during the period when your port industry was reorganized we lost communication channels with the Russian port association. That is why I was very delighted to get invitation from the President of the Association. Now we are to discuss how we can restore our friendship again and how to promote mutual development of the two organizations. For example we have just issued a list of all Chinese ports. It was the first publication ever written in English about port system in that country and also individual profile of the ports. It would be good to issue the same publication about Russian ports. It is time for the Russian Association to think about how to make people beyond Russia know more about your ports and industry. This kind of cooperation is really important to take up a barrier if any between different economies. While this is only just a part of possible cooperation between the two organizations. The IAPH has a number of Technical Committees which tackle major issues such as Safety, Security & Environment, long-term planning, improvement of IT application and legal framework. We do often go to the United Nations to express basic position of the world port community as regards the specific subjects. The Association of Sea Commercial Ports could send several staff to participate in the activities of Technical Committees. We believe it's important to have somebody to speak out on problems of port industry on a high level.

Interviewed by Yuliya Vinogradova
IAA PortNews

The International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) has developed into a global alliance of ports, representing today some 230 ports in about 90 countries. The member ports handle over 60% of the world's sea-borne trade and more significantly, nearly 90% of the world's container traffic. It is a non-profit-making and non-governmental organization (NGO) headquartered in Tokyo, Japan.

Go to Index of # 4(26) 2008


# 4(26), 2008
Topical Interview

Satoshi Inoue, Secretary General of the Association

Satoshi Inoue, Secretary General of the Association