Worldwide there are approximately 3,000 merchant ports and the work of the Harbour Master can vary widely from country to country and from port to port even within the same country.
Following a successful Industry Input Workshop in May 2018, on 29 November the second Industry Input Workshop was held to discuss and agree on global data standards (GDS) for port call data, allowing machines to understand each other. E.g. to connect the berth planning of the terminal to the navigation information of the ship. Earlier, in September 2017, the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office [UKHO] and the International Harbour Masters Association [IHMA] released an intermediate publication for the functional definitions for port call data, allowing humans to understand each other.
The scope of port call data includes vessel – berth compatibility (safe port) information, and information related to availability of berth, fairway, nautical and vessel services, with the aim to bring existing international industry standards together, allowing for quick endorsement and implementation.
Some 80 attendees attended the workshop representing shipping, ports, suppliers of navigation systems and terminal operating systems as well as representatives of relevant international maritime organizations. This workshop was only the second of its kind in a 5,000-year-old industry.
For port call optimization it’s fundamental to have standardized digital data available, allowing for real time updates in the port call process. Therefore, it’s imperative to agree on global digital data standards first.
The need for port call optimization is increasing day by day, especially with the commitment of the IMO to reduce emissions caused by shipping with 50% by 2050. Many articles in various maritime industry magazines have already pleaded for international standards – and now we can see the first tangible results.
Captain Ben van Scherpenzeel, Chairman of the International Taskforce Port Call Optimization: all participants agreed that there is a need to digitize, simplify and optimize the maritime industry, to meet current challenges like reducing emissions of shipping. Only moving forward together with a robust set of globally agreed port call standards will assist all parties to invest into solutions.
Captain Andreas van der Wurff, Maersk Line: the use of agreed global standards is essential for optimizing the port call process and will enhance collaboration between the key stakeholders in a port environment.
Per Setterberg, STM Validation Project Manager: Digital standards are a pre-requisite, but commercial contracts might be a hindrance to more efficient operations. That is why it is so important that BIMCO could present another step forward at the workshop - the STM clause for standard contracts that can be used to split benefits of just-in-time arrivals. 85% of world trade is using BIMCO standard contracts.
EHMC, UKHO, GS1, International Taskforce Port Call Optimization, STM, SMART and SESAME organized the first workshop on 24 May 2018, to demonstrate the different initiatives are moving towards the same solution. It was attended by more than 50 people. The first findings identified the need to spend more time to investigate the currently available options for e.g. identifiers of berths and terminals. Action items were addressed by two small expert sessions. In the 29 November workshop the wider industry stakeholders validated and endorsed the outcome of these expert sessions.
Concrete outcomes of the workshop:
There was little discussion about the proposed standards as most of them are based on existing ISO or branch standards. Importance of ISO standards is that they’re well maintained by a robust organization. Next step forward is to carry out a GAP analysis which proposed standards are not yet maintained by ISO. Another step forward is to realize that having standards only is not sufficient; guidance is needed for ports and terminals how to apply the standards.
Discussion was held regarding standard API’s – allowing platforms to connect to one another. Not a concrete outcome yet, but setting the scene of what the ambition of the marine industry should be.
Results will be available in 2 weeks’ time on www.portcalloptimization.org
The IMO has agreed to address maritime corruption by including this important issue in its work programme for the Facilitation Committee. The decision to include an anti-corruption agenda came at the latest meeting of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL 43 held 8-12 April) in response to a submission from Liberia, Marshall Islands, Norway, UK, US and Vanuatu. The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) co-sponsored the submission along with a number of other non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping (illustrated) commented: ‘Corruption erodes trust in government and undermines the social contract. Corruption impedes investment, with consequent effects on growth and jobs. This is a global issue but we all need to work to eradicate corrupt practices. We are pleased that the IMO will be working to address this important issue and we will support the member states in stamping out this scourge.’
A mass rescue operation – indeed, any incident beyond everyday capability – is a challenge for any State and any SAR organisation; but this is particularly so for small States and organisations, whose planning and response capabilities are naturally limited. A cruise ship accident in the Caribbean, for example, where many such ships trade, is a very rare event, but still a possible one. Rarity is part of the problem.
Thus the scene is set by the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF see: www.international-maritime-rescue.org ).
This then begs a question
How do you prepare for such huge, once-in-a-career challenges?
In the UK IMRF Member the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), an executive agency of the UK Government, takes this question very seriously.