2024 marks a milestone in the acceleration of digitalization in shipping that has been brought about by the mandatory requirements for a Maritime Single Window.
The requirement under the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) requires governments to use a single digital platform or “Maritime Single Window” to share and exchange information with ships when they call at ports, from January 1, 2024. This streamlines procedures to clear the arrival, stay and departure of ships and greatly enhances the efficiency of shipping worldwide, says the IMO.
IMO Secretary-General Arsenio Dominguez said: “Digitalization is critical for greater efficiency in shipping. The Maritime Single Window delivers information between ships, ports and government agencies quickly, reliably and smoothly.”
More than 4.6 million port calls were recorded globally in 2022.
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The IMO has supported countries implementing the Maritime Single Window. In November 2023, a generic Maritime Single Window platform was handed over to the Port of Lobito in Angola, following a Single Window for Facilitation of Trade project which was supported by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the IMO.
The initiative built upon an earlier successful project coordinated by the IMO that saw successful delivery in 2019 of a Maritime Single Window system in Antigua and Barbuda.
The Facilitation Committee of IMO has issued guidelines to assist member states to implement the Maritime Single Window, including guidelines on authentication, integrity and confidentiality of information exchanges via maritime single windows and related services.