ISCOS Secretariat

The Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS) is a Regional Maritime Organization operating in the Eastern, Southern, and Northern African whose mandate is to Promote, Protect and Coordinate the Shipping and Maritime Interests of the Region.

ISCOS was formed by the Republic of Kenya, United Republic of Tanzania, the Republic of Uganda and the Republic of Zambia way back in 1967, after regional States faced challenges in Shipping and Maritime Trade which each of them would not handle individually due to the International and technical nature, geographical location and complexities of the issues involved.

Over 90% of the Region’s International Trade is indeed transported by sea. Due to the shared Maritime bodies, facilities, multinational service providers and overseas trading partners and regimes, as well as the common maritime interests, challenges and aspirations, African States using the Indian Ocean as their maritime passage for international trade have taken note of the increased need for collaboration in this complex, international, high expenditure and capital intensive sector and have  committed to use  ISCOS’  existing framework to  work together in order to have their Maritime trade interests driven in a structured, coherent, unified and more effective manner.

In line with this commitment, a number of regional states are now at various levels of formalising their Membership to the Organisation, with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) having  completed her processes and joined ISCOS Membership in September, 2022.  The Organisation is also rebranding into a Maritime Organsation for the Eastern, Southern and Northern Africa (MOESNA) in line with this scope and mandate.

ISCOS Mandate is driven from, among others:

  • The international nature of Shipping and Maritime affairs their technical nature, complexities and geographical location of issues involved which are better handled through collaboration
  • The need for effective protection of the interests of the region against adverse policies and practices of multinational service providers and the power of collective interventions,
  • The commonality of Shipping and Maritime challenges facing the Region and Africa at large making collaborations very critical for building synergies and countervailing power,
  • The interdependency of regional states in maritime trade due to shared Maritime bodies and facilities (the Indian ocean, the east coast of Africa, the Suez Canal, Sea Ports, Lakes and other inland water ways) and the need for harmonization of Maritime Policies across the Region for seamless connectivity,
  • Shipping being a Capital- Intensive Sector and the opportunity to pull resources together for regional maritime initiatives such as Vessel Owning,
  • The need to support each other in addressing common and universal threats to Maritime Trade on the region’s Maritime routes (such as Maritime Piracy, Robbery and all sorts of Maritime Crime on the high seas etc.) which can disrupt international trade as a whole irrespective of the destination of the Cargo, and the importance of having a regional approach to address sea borne challenges, threats and other adverse developments,
  • Ever changing dynamics of Shipping and International Trade requiring an expert institution for Research, technical studies and generation of Industry and Sector based Advisories,
  • The commercial interdependency between land linked and coastal states and the need for harmonization of either’s interests and policies,
  • The need for the development of joint and comparable import and export policies for the regional states in order to aid uniformity in dealing with overseas trading partners and therefore mitigate the loss of financial resources due to disjointed efforts,
  • Inspirations drawn from the revised Africa MaritimeTransport Charter (AMTC), 2010 and the African Integrated Maritime Strategy (AIMS) 2050 which encourage regional groupings in pursuit of common goals, strategies, promotion of common Agendas and the Development of Regional and the African Maritime Economy,
  • International trade is majorly transported by sea and none of the regional states can effectively influence dimensions of the Logistical chain which are largely in control of foreign operators.