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OCT. 31, 2018

Opening remarks

Good morning and welcome to Washington, D.C.

I’m honored to serve as the maritime administrator for the U.S. Department of Transportation, and on behalf of Secretary Elaine L. Chao and my colleagues at the Maritime Administration, I thank you for your participation in today’s Consultative Shipping Group meeting.

My thanks as well to chairman Andreas Nordseth of CSG for helping to coordinate this meeting — and for all of your work on international shipping issues of great concern to all of us gathered here today.

We have a broad and timely agenda awaiting us that will cover many important issues on maritime topics of mutual concern.

Our expectation is that we will continue to deepen and build upon our prior discussions.

On the U.S. side, these of course include our ongoing and relentless efforts to promote and support the nation’s U.S. carriers, and strategic plans to address infrastructure improvements needed to expand America’s domestic and foreign trade.

This always includes the ways in which we support our shipbuilding and repair industries and provide quality mariner education and training to ensure a qualified mariner pool to operate our ships.

Here in the U.S. we have seen the future, and it tells us we have no option but to significantly expand and modernize our ports and waterways… to be designed with efficient, multi-modal connectivity to roads and railways. We are looking forward to learning more from the CSG members on this topic of such critical importance to the maritime industry’s profitability and growth.
As you may be aware, MARAD is developing a strategy that is currently undergoing interagency review within the administration and we expect it to be finalized in coming months.

So I look forward to hearing and learning from CSG’s membership about what’s working and what’s not in your own countries.

Of course all of our nations are working to address environmental impacts within our industry, along with the use of some of the new, cleaner fuels and technologies available to help.

These include LNG, biofuels and fuel cells, to name a few. And we are also looking at the future impact of automation and unmanned vessel technology.

This will obviously usher in enormous change to our industry and we need to be especially wise, thoughtful, and closely connected and aligned as we proceed along these lines.

So it is a busy agenda with lots on the drawing board. I do encourage all of our CSG members to take an active part in the discussions throughout the day.
Again, I want to welcome you all and thank you for coming.

Please let us know how we can make your visit more comfortable and productive, and know that all of us in the U.S. delegation and with the Maritime Administration are at your service. With that, let’s get started.

Closing remarks

My colleagues . . . our time together has come to a close, for now, and I’m pleased to say it was a very productive engagement for our team. I hope it was for you as well.

It was both informative and encouraging to share and review some of the many challenges within the maritime sphere that impact all of our nations. Our discussions added to the foundation and framework for continued cooperation, support, and success in all of our countries’ seafaring endeavors.

We have great respect and admiration for your impressive collective maritime policies and assets, and always come away from these meetings with great ideas on how to better address certain of our fundamental challenges.

Our work today solidified my vision of a strong, strategic maritime alliance with the CSG membership — an alliance to serve all of our nations, our economies, our national security, and our citizens.

We discussed many important topics, such as more efficient trade between our countries, important maritime safety and technological issues, including cyber security and international port security.

We highlighted our shared challenges of maintaining an adequate pool of qualified mariners and enough ships and cargo to keep them gainfully employed; we acknowledged some increasingly urgent environmental concerns that all of our nations face, and discussed some of the cleaner fuels and technologies that will help us meet our goals.

And of course we can’t ignore the coming wave of technology – the increased testing and use of automated and unmanned vessels – and the challenges of properly introducing and utilizing these new platforms domestically, not to mention on a global scale.

There is much work to do to get ready, and tremendous opportunities awaiting us in the very near future. We will need to work together to arrive at thoughtful solutions.

Our nations’ maritime sectors face a declining mariner workforce and intense international competition cutting into the CSG member countries’ and America’s commercial markets. In each of these areas, today’s shipping environment puts even the most experienced stakeholders to the test.

It is imperative that the U.S. Maritime Administration and the CSG continue to stand side-by-side to see positive growth and development in our industries.

In my opinion, the strong maritime bond between our nations has grown stronger.

And it’s plain to see that future opportunities between our nations are unlimited.

We can move forward confidently knowing that we each have a meaningful role to play one another’s maritime progress — and success.

I commend the CSG for the excellent work you have all done in preparing for this summit. The United States values our relationship, and we look forward to many years of fruitful cooperation in this partnership.

It is with great anticipation that I look forward to our next meeting. Thank you as to the team members and officials from all nations for making this meeting a success.

I proudly call you my maritime colleagues, partners and friends. Thank you.

Updated: Monday, November 19, 2018