First Cruise Ships Meeting held in Brussels

29 November 2018

Based on the mandate given by the Policy Commission at its 79th session, the Cruise Ships Working Group held its first meeting on 27 November 2018 at the Headquarters of the World Customs Organization (WCO). It was chaired by Mr. Robert Lake, Customs Attaché at the Embassy of New Zealand in Brussels, and brought together over 40 Brussels-based Customs Attachés as well as representatives from the cruise ships industry.

During this meeting, His Excellency Colin Connelly, Ambassador of Trinidad and Tobago to Belgium, shared with the participants his country’s experience with respect to cruise ships, and the impact and influence this industry has on the national economy.

The WCO Secretary General, Dr. Kunio Mikuriya, welcomed the Ambassador’s support and valuable contribution to the Cruise Ships Working Group. He also referred to the WCO theme of “SMART borders for seamless Trade, Travel and Transport”, and noted how the work of this Working Group was directly related to the concept of Travel, a central component of the WCO's theme for 2019.

Strong foundations for the Group's future work were laid down and discussed in depth during this first meeting. Interactive discussions followed the presentations on a number of key areas, such as the current state of play of the cruise ships industry, and how its rapid growth has led to increased pressure on resource management within Customs administrations.

It was noted that industry’s participation in the Working Group was crucial for the development of global standards for cruise ships.