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.
Digitalization, big data, and new technologies such as artificial intelligence are key in enabling the post-COVID recovery, IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim told a 28 July webinar on Digital Connectivity and Data Standards1.
He commented: ‘Cooperation between shipping, ports and logistics will be vital for enhancing the efficiency and sustainability of shipping and therefore facilitating trade and fostering economic recovery and prosperity.’
Furthermore he highlighted IMO’s key role in ensuring shipping can embrace the digital revolution – while ensuring safety, environmental protection as well as cyber security.
In conclusion Secretary General Lim added: ‘Digitalization and new technologies will also be the key to allowing standardization and therefore enhancing the efficiency of shipping.’ (Readers may find the full speech below.2) These extracts and other details were provided in a Media briefing from IMO on 28 July.
The need for standardization was also highlighted by IMO’s Facilitation Head, Julian Abril, who noted the mandatory requirement for electronic data exchange in the Facilitation Convention, effective since April 2019.
Discussions were then underway (late July) towards making a single maritime window mandatory – so that all data for arrival and departure of ships is submitted through a single point and transmitted to the relevant agencies involved.
Standardization and harmonization needed for this to happen is captured in the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business3, a tool for software developers that harmonises the data elements required for regulatory purposes during a port call and standardises electronic messages, reducing the administrative burden for ships linked to formalities in ports.
It is understood that the goal is to make it easier for companies involved in maritime trade or transport to create software that can communicate, no matter on which standard they are based.
Cooperation, communication and collaboration between the various stakeholders to maintain and further develop the compendium, as well as looking into expanding its data set and data model to areas beyond the FAL Convention, has been formalised in a partnership agreement signed in March 2020 between IMO, the World Customs Organization4, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe5 and the International Organization for Standardization6.
The webinar on 28 July on Digital Connectivity and Data Standards was organized by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, the first in a maritime perspectives webinar series.
IALA is a non-profit, international technical association. Established in 1957, it gathers together Marine Aids to Navigation authorities, manufacturers, consultants, and, scientific and training institutes from all parts of the world and offers them the opportunity to exchange and compare their experiences and achievements.
IALA encourages its members to work together in a common effort to harmonise Marine Aids to Navigation worldwide and to ensure that the movements of vessels are safe, expeditious and cost-effective while protecting the environment.
Taking into account the needs of mariners, developments in technology and the requirements and constraints of aids to navigation authorities, a number of technical committees have been established bringing together experts from around the world.
Following a strong start to CLdN’s* weekly Con-Ro service from Cork to Zeebrugge, the shipping line announced a second call to accommodate demand. This second direct service from Cork to the EU commenced on 7 January offering more flexibility to Irish customers, ensuring supply chains are maintained.
Considering Brexit and combined with the modal shift from accompanied to unaccompanied shipping, having a second direct link between Cork and Zeebrugge will bypass the UK Landbridge. For importers and exporters this means avoiding unnecessary border checks thus ensuring cargo flows more effectively and in a cost-efficient manner from Ireland direct to the continent.
According to CLdN, over the last months, there has been steady growth in customer demand for reliable, low cost and Brexit-proof unaccompanied freight products. Shipping unaccompanied trailers, (tank) containers, finished vehicles or project cargo between its own ferry terminals provides a one stop shop for customers to get goods shipped across the North Sea without running the risk of disruption.