What is a National Maritime Transport Policy?

What is a National Maritime Transport Policy?

Maritime transport is essential for sustainable trade and development. It’s a central part of the “Blue Economy”, which has enormous potential to promote economic growth and improve peoples’ lives – while addressing many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But many countries are unprepared to take advantage of this potential. This video explains how a coherent and coordinated National Maritime Transport Policy can benefit everyone


Maritime transportation is an essential component of any programme for sustainable development because the world relies on a safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry.

With this in mind, IMO developed a concept of a Sustainable Maritime Transportation System with a view to providing a blueprint for countries to develop their maritime transport infrastructure in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner, in keeping with the global process to develop Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched at the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development in 2012.  Within this comprehensive framework and a new approach to the delivery of technical assistance, IMO also introduced the concept of providing assistance to its Member States in the formulation and development of national maritime transport policies (NMTPs), thus strengthening the maritime capacities and contributing to the achievement of the SDGs adopted in 2015. Moreover, NMTPs are also complimentary to the concept of the “Blue Economy” which is closely associated with sustainable development and Small Island Developing States (SIDs).

What is NMTP?

A National Maritime Transport Policy is a statement of principles and objectives to guide decisions in the maritime transport sector with a view to achieving the maritime vision of a country and ensuring that the sector is governed in an efficient, sustainable, safe and environmentally sound manner.

Training package

To assist developing countries in formulating and enhancing their NMTPs, the Secretariat, in close cooperation with the World Maritime University (WMU), developed a training package and material on the development, adoption and updating of NMTPs.

The training package consists of a three-day workshop for personnel involved in the preparation of NMTPs and a one-day seminar for senior transport officials involved in the review and adoption process of NMTPS.  The training package has dual objectives; first, to provide a standard of knowledge and skills to all participants, so as to enable them to understand the major elements incorporated into a maritime transport policy and its foundations, and second, to ensure proper understanding of the obligations of States and their implications, when formulating maritime policy and legislation, on the basis of international maritime treaties. The package, which has a broad global dimension and is not country specific, explores and encourages discussion on the priorities and challenges in formulating and developing maritime transport policy at national level and discusses the information base and readiness essential to develop and implement such a policy also focusing on meeting global and regional standards.

A number of pilot training events, consisting of regional and national workshops and seminars, aimed at assessing the delivery and material of the training and its impact on the beneficiaries, have been delivered in different regions of the world since the last quarter of 2015.  Since then, the training package material has been finalized and translated into French and Spanish to enable delivery of the training in other languages to interested Member States.


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