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.
Data sharing is a prerequisite to enabling the successful implementation of Just-In-Time (JIT) operations – which can cut the time ships spend idling outside ports and help cut emissions as well as save on fuel costs. This was the message in a media briefing by IMO in the first week of May
Participants at a roundtable meeting of IMO’s Global Industry Alliance to Support Low Carbon Shipping (GIA) in London on 1 / 2 May, agreed that increased transparency of information through data sharing was imperative, while this should be achieved through standardized functional and data definitions.
IHMA Project Officer, Captain Ben van Scherpenzeel, (Port of Rotterdam) participated in this roundtable and is seen in the accompanying illustration at IMO HQ, fourth from right.
It was learnt that more frequent exchange of information would lead to better predictability of when a berth is available. Additionally, it was reported that the roundtable identified the need for a global, neutral, not-for profit data sharing platform, to allow frequent updates from terminals and vessel service providers on completion times.
At its meeting at IMO the roundtable also identified the potential benefits of regulating data sharing, while incentivising data quality.
Furthermore, the roundtable meeting was reported as the latest in a series organized by the GIA, to identify and discuss the operational, contractual and regulatory barriers – and potential solutions – to the adoption of Just-In-Time operations.
Cutting greenhouse gas emissions
It was reported that the meeting heard of operational measures helping to substantially cut greenhouse gas emissions from ships. In 2018, IMO adopted an initial IMO strategy on reduction of GHG emissions from ships, setting out a vision which confirms IMO’s commitment to reducing GHG emissions from international shipping and to phasing them out as soon as possible.
Global Industry Alliance
The GIA is an innovative public-private partnership initiative of the IMO, under the framework of the GEF-UNDP-IMO Global Maritime Energy Efficiency Partnerships (GloMEEP) Project that aims to bring together maritime industry leaders to support an energy efficient and low carbon maritime transport system.
In conclusion, it was reported that the roundtable was attended by more than 30 GIA and non-GIA members (including representatives of shipping companies, ship agents, ship brokers, ports, terminals, bunker providers, nautical service providers, maritime organizations, maritime law firms and so forth).
On 19 February the European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) published its Position Paper on the European Green Deal objectives in ports.
The publication of this position paper fits into the European Shipping Week (ESW), taking place in Brussels from 17 February. In the framework of the ESW, ESPO and the European Community Shipowners’ Associations (ECSA) organised on 19 February a workshop on Decarbonising the shipping industry: What’s already happening and how can we help accelerate it?
The Executive Summary of the ESPO Position Paper reads as follows:
Following reports received regarding the impacts on the shipping industry of the sudden and rapid outbreak of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), IMO issued a Circular Letter* on 19 February advising Member States and others on implementation and enforcement of relevant IMO Instruments.
The letter urges Flag State authorities, port State authorities and control regimes, companies and ship masters to cooperate, in the current context of the outbreak, to ensure that, where appropriate, passengers can be embarked and disembarked, cargo operations can occur, ships can enter and depart ship yards for repair and survey, stores and supplies can be loaded, certificates can be issued and crews can be exchanged.
The principles of avoiding unnecessary restrictions or delay on port entry to ships, persons and property on board are contained in articles I and V and section 6 of the annex to IMO’s Facilitation Convention.
IMO will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide additional information as and when appropriate.