A mandatory requirement took effect Monday for national governments to introduce electronic information between ships and ports in an effort to make cross-border trade simpler and the supply chain more efficient.
The requirement is part of a package of amendments under the revised annex to the IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) adopted in 2016. The Facilitation Convention encourages the use of a “single window” for the exchange of data via a single point of contact to allow for the streamlining of procedures via electronic systems for information related to the arrival, stay and departure of the ship and data on its crew, passengers and cargo, according to IMO.
There is a provision for a transitional period of at least 12 months during which paper and electronic documents are allowed.
“The new FAL Convention requirement for all public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information related to maritime transport marks a significant move in the maritime industry and ports towards a digital maritime world, reducing the administrative burden and increasing the efficiency of maritime trade and transport,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in a statement.
Five other documents on security, ship wastes and advanced electronic cargo information for customs risk assessment purposes also are required, in addition to two more under the Universal Postal Convention and International Health Regulations.
All national authorities now should prepare to have provisions for the electronic exchange of this information under the new requirement, IMO said.
The requirement came into effect as IMO’s Facilitation Committee met for its 43rd session. Agenda items included work to standardization of electronic messages and an update on an IMO single window project implemented in Antigua and Barbuda with Norway’s support.
“The source code developed for the system established in Antigua and Barbuda will be made available to other interested member states,” IMO said.