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World Maritime Day: Georgia’s maritime sector is moving closer to Europe


On the occasion of World Maritime Day, EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell has issued a statement: 
“Happy World Maritime Day, Sakartvelo (Georgia)!
Throughout history, bodies of waters have either acted to separate people and continents, or acted to unite them. Together, the European Union and Georgia have been working step-by-step to ensure that the Black Sea is becoming a bridge that is uniting us and bringing us closer together.
EU-Georgia cooperation in the maritime sphere is a largely unsung success story. Together we have worked to modernise capacities, we have raised environmental and safety standards, and we have made sure that it’s becoming an increasingly attractive trade for new people to join in a sustainable manner. This is so important for Georgia’s economy and Georgia’s vision of becoming a transport and connectivity hub in the wider region.
Already today there are more than 12,000 Georgian seafarers, who are contributing some five hundred million lari to the Georgian state budget every year.  Last year alone we saw a 40% increase of container traffic going through Georgian ports, which shows the potential for further growth.
Together we have made sure that Georgia is fulfilling 16 out of 22 EU directives and regulations and we are currently working on the first ever Georgian Maritime Strategy. Our work has already made it possible for Georgian seafarers’ education and their certificates to be recognized by no less than 20 European states.  This makes it possible for Georgian seafarers to work on board or even captain European vessels.
Let me end this statement by expressing my sincere thanks to all the Georgian seafarers and maritime workers, who during these difficult COVID days have been working around the clock to make sure that goods and supplies are passing through Georgian ports, which is so important. Didi madloba (thank you)”

The EU has been supporting the development of the Georgian maritime sector through various project and programs, addressing a whole range of issues, including improvement of infrastructure, reinforcement of navigational safety and security, protection of the marine environment, as well as introduction of the modern standards of education and training. All these reforms aim to support the country in its plans to establish the institutional and legislative framework necessary for a sustainable maritime transportation system with international high standards, together with new technology and innovation, energy efficiency, digitalization and integration of maritime/port services and more.
The European Union will continue its uninterrupted support to further strengthening and upgrading of Georgia’s maritime sector in a sustainable way. All above will ensure proper and efficient management of the maritime sector in Georgia, thus creating sound ground for new opportunities, further development, and more investments. All this can become a solid basis for the overall further sustainable economic development of the country in line with the key requirements of the EU-Georgia Association Agreement.
The EU is proud to be a key partner in these developments, and on the occasion of the World Maritime Day, is launching an information campaign highlighting the significant progress that Georgia has made so far, as well as the future prospects. These include: International standard maritime education opportunities in Georgia and quality jobs they lead to; Economic opportunities from adopting EU standards and a first ever State Maritime Transport Strategy; Continual work to ensure environmental protection of the Black Sea.  More information can be found at:
Photo materials can be downloaded here: https://we.tl/t-jemQoKgnhR

Additional Information 
As a result of the recent reforms implemented with the support from the EU, Georgia has been showing significant progress in the maritime sector:  

– Thanks to EU support, various structural, legislative and educational reforms have taken place in the Georgian maritime sector.
– As a result of the reforms in education and certification currently, 54 countries around the world recognize Georgian seafarer certificates, including up to 20 EU member states.
– Thanks to the recent education and certification reforms, the majority of Georgian seafarers are now employed either on a ship sailing under the flag of an EU member state or on ships owned by European ship owners, this guarantees: high level of security, social security guarantees, modern standards of the navy.
– Georgian seafarers’ contribution to the State budget has increased to approximately half a billion GEL annually.

To learn more on the recent reforms in maritime and they have contributed to the creation of more job opportunities for the Georgian seafarers, through improved education and certification process watch the video:  https://youtu.be/cK55YDRXr8s  

– A safe, secure and efficient international shipping industry is an essential component for future sustainable economic growth of the country with the vast majority of goods being imported by sea.
-The maritime industry in the country is rapidly expanding. In 2019, there was a record increase of 43% in container cargo throughput in Georgian ports. The port sector in Georgia has been at the centre of the pandemic response, working 24 hours flat-out to support the timely delivery of goods, commodities, medical supplies and equipment.
– With the EU support, for the first time in its history in 2021 the country will have a maritime transport strategy which will identify and implement strategic development goals and growth targets across key sector components of the maritime industry. 
– Out of 22 directives and regulations stemming from the EU-GE Association Agreement, 16 are already in place and contribute among others to improving safety, security, environmental protection, and training and working conditions in the sector.
– As a result, the maritime sector competitiveness will increase, people in this sector will benefit from certain standards, of quality of work, of safety. All these reforms will make the sector much more attractive for investors and help Georgia establish itself as a leading country in maritime sector. With the EU support, in 2021, for the first time in its history, Georgia will have a Maritime Transport Strategy, to learn more about the importance of the document and other reforms for the sector’s development watch the video: https://youtu.be/YrKoOAu26Mo  

As part of the EU project, the country has received state-of-the-art laboratory equipment, allowing to conduct coastline surveys on a regular basis. EU support in terms of technical assistance and capacity building will allow Georgian experts to define what further measures can be taken to improve the environment of the Black Sea coast. The EU is providing support in elaboration of the National Maritime Environment Strategy and Action Programme The Black Sea is a unique asset for Georgia, but it’s quite polluted. The European Union has been supporting Georgia in its effort to improve the quality of the water in the Black Sea through capacity building and technical assistance. More information on the progress that has been achieved in this direction is in the video here: https://youtu.be/OMzqygQU-z8
International shipping transports more than 80 per cent of global trade to peoples and communities all over the world.  Shipping is the most efficient and cost-effective method of international transportation for most goods; it provides a dependable, low-cost means of transporting goods globally, facilitating the commerce, and ensuring the wellbeing of people. 
The promotion of sustainable shipping and sustainable maritime development is one of the major priorities of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), as well as for Georgia as a member state of the organization, in the coming years.
For more information, please contact:

Inga Nikagosian
EU4Georgia III
Strategic Communication Lead
+995 577 293979

Nata Kasradze 
EU4Georgia III
Senior Environment Communication Coordinator
+995 577 777 930