Multiple international organisations have agreed to support increased maritime digitalisation and data exchange between ships and ports
A new partnership has been formed between IMO, the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the International Organization for Standardization to support data flows in maritime.
Ship operators are legally obliged to exchange vital information with shore authorities about cargoes, dangerous goods, crews and vessel details when ships enter and leave ports.
Under amendments to IMO’s Convention of Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), public authorities are now required to introduce systems to enable digital exchange of data. But there are still questions over standardising these data exchanges.
The partnership agreement, which has been effective since 15 March, will help to implement this data exchange. It paves the way for updating the IMO Reference Data Model.
IMO’s agreement also plans to harmonise data standards in other areas including exchanging operational data for just-in-time operation of ships.
This encompasses ships and ports exchanging voyage, estimated time of arrival and terminal availability information electronically to reduce ship waiting times and port congestion.
Just-in-time operation allows ships to optimise their speed, so they arrive at their destination port when their berth is ready for them, thereby saving energy, cutting costs and reducing emissions.
A trial of this technology, supplied by Wärtsilä and involving Hamburg Vessel Co-ordination Centre and Carnival Maritime, demonstrated the benefits for shipowners, managers and ports.
A consortium of organisations and companies behind the Sea Traffic Management ecosystem are also developing different methods for ships and ports to communicate and exchange greater amounts of data.
The IMO Reference Data Model is a key element of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business.
It covers the reporting requirements defined in the FAL Convention to support transmission, receipt and response of information required for the arrival, stay, and departure of ships, persons, and cargo via electronic data exchange. This work ensures interoperability between the respective standards of each organisation.
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