Did you know that, in one year, an average container ship travels the equivalent of 75 % of the way to the moon and back? And that there are around 55 000 cargo ships floating around our seas1), not to mention the many cruise ships to carry the 27 million holidaymakers expected to go on a cruising holiday this year2).

The industry has grown exponentially over the last few decades, bringing with it issues related to safety, environment, security, climate change, energy, trade and more.

As we celebrate World Maritime Day (27 September), we recognize the regulations and guidance by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations body that sets the mandatory international relations for shipping, to which ISO standards contribute.

The theme of this year’s World Maritime Day is “IMO 70: Our Heritage – Better Shipping for a Better Future”. ISO is a key partner of the IMO through its committee of experts in shipping, ISO/TC 8, Ships and marine technology. IMO regulations are created with ISO/TC 8’s valuable input, and ISO/TC 8 standards serve as key tools to help meet these regulations.

ISO/TC 8 is one of ISO’s oldest technical committees and has developed more than 300 International Standards since its inception in 1947, covering many aspects of shipping including safety, intelligent navigation and environmental protection.

It is a model example of a body that serves the needs of the industry and maritime legislation, while promoting sustainable development and continuous improvement. Its achievements have been recognized through the Lawrence D. Eicher Award for excellence and superior performance in standards development, presented today at the 41st ISO General Assembly, held in Geneva, Switzerland.

Presenting the LDE Award to ISO/TC 8, Shipping and marine technology, from left: ISO Secretary-General Sergio Mujica; ISO President John Walter; ISO/TC 8 Chair Yanqing Li; ISO/TC 8 Secretary Jing Wang; and Piet-Hein Daverveldt, ISO Vice-President (technical management).

Announcing the award winner, ISO President John Walter pointed out that ISO/TC 8 also works closely with 25 other relevant international organizations. “ISO/TC 8 also does an excellent job at creating and maintaining strong links with industry to ensure that their standards meet market needs,” he said.

For more information about ISO standards for shipping and ISO/TC 8, visit the committee’s Web page on ISO.org.


1) Ocean insights: 8 facts about the shipping industry

2) Cruise Lines International Association: 2018 Cruise Industry Outlook [PDF]