Finland seeks a place at the heart of IMO to promote sustainable and safe shipping

Ministry of Transport and Communications
Publication date 13.12.2022 15.03
Press release
Photo: Ville Suni, Arctia / Ministry of Transport and Communications
Photo: Ville Suni, Arctia / Ministry of Transport and Communications

How to reduce emissions from shipping? How to make the most of new technologies to make maritime transport safer? For Finland, solving these questions is crucial. And for this reason, Finland is seeking membership in the Council of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for the 2024-2025 term.

State Secretary Pilvi Torsti will launch Finland's candidacy for the IMO Council in the margins of the Marine Environment Protection Committee in London on 13 December 2022.

"Sustainability, safety, modern technology and the wellbeing of seafarers are key issues for Finland in maritime transport. In the IMO, we seek to promote solutions that can advance these goals," says State Secretary Pilvi Torsti.

Finland has a long history of shipping due to its geographical location, which makes the Baltic Sea a lifeline for the country. Shipping is important for the national economy and all Finns, as almost 80 per cent of Finland's imports and 90 per cent of exports are transported by ships.

"Finland has plenty of technical expertise in the design and construction of vessels and in engine technology. Finland builds large modern cruise ships, and about 80 per cent of all the world's icebreakers are either designed or built in Finland," says State Secretary Torsti.

"Finland has developed environmentally friendly technologies that sustainable shipping needs. We are committed to solving environmental problems quickly, pragmatically and in cooperation with all interested parties," she adds.

IMO plays a key role in developing international rules for maritime transport. The Council, consisting of IMO Member States, provides comprehensive guidance for the Organization's work between the Assembly sessions. The Assembly will elect the new Council Member States in December 2023.

IMO currently has 175 Member States. Finland has been a Member since 1959, and a Council Member most recently in 1998-1999 and 2000-2001.

Finland's three key themes in the IMO Council elections

1. Sustainable shipping - a necessity and an opportunity

We need measures to curb global warming and promote sustainable shipping. Green growth, in other words ecologically sustainable economy and growth, offers enormous opportunities around the world.

Aiming for carbon neutrality by 2035, Finland is committed to the objectives set in the Paris Agreement on climate change and the IMO GHG Strategy, set to be revised, to limit the temperature rise. Finland advocates for global emission reduction measures for a global industry.

2. New technologies - harnessing the potential to promote safety and wellbeing

Digitalisation and automation have a great deal of potential to improve maritime safety, reduce emissions and develop better services. New technologies can also reduce the number of dangerous duties of seafarers and in that way improve their wellbeing.

3. Education and equality at the heart of maritime transport

Despite technological changes, people remain at the heart of maritime transport. Finland emphasises the social dimension of shipping.

Finland is a leader in education and gender equality. For decades, Finland has supported the least developed countries in education, allocating more than one third of its international development budget to that purpose. Finland also exports technology and environmental expertise through education. For example, the Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom organises field courses for students at the World Maritime University, which was founded by IMO.

What's next?

The IMO Council elections will take place in December 2023. The Assembly will elect 40 Member States to the Council in three Categories: (a), (b) and (c). Finland seeks membership in Category (c), which will have 20 States.


Pilvi Torsti, State Secretary, tel. +358 295 342 185, [email protected]

Mikael Nyberg, Alternate Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, tel. +358 40 837 8794, [email protected]

Anita Mäkinen, Alternate Permanent Representative of Finland to the IMO, tel. +358 40 162 4592, [email protected]