BIMCO position statement 03: Leveraging digitalisation


BIMCO's position has been approved by the BIMCO Board of Directors.


Digitalisation is one of the most important trends of the 21st century. The shipping industry is progressively using digital technologies and solutions to increase competitiveness, create new opportunities, drive innovation, and improve operational efficiency and resilience. Digitalisation is a key enabler for efficiency improvements and thereby GHG emissions reductions.

Ocean transportation services are a derived demand and form an essential integral part of the global supply chain. The digitalisation of the supply chain improves trade facilitation, forecasting and predicting – all of which have an impact on inventory management and the efficient flow of goods. This, in turn, has a direct bearing on how ocean transportation services adapt to become more closely aligned with the supply chain to increase overall efficiency, resilience and sustainability. So, digitalisation is a process that adds predictability and transparency, thus creating a common thread that binds ocean transportation to the global supply chain.

Common to all industries tackling the challenge of digitalisation is the need to effectively manage change. A second key concern is digital disparity where Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) fall behind larger companies because they lack the resources to evaluate and adopt the right technologies. 

Digitalisation also affects how in the future BIMCO will supply services and products to its members and the wider industry through the adoption of innovative technologies to build practical business tools and supply easy access to shareable data.

BIMCO’s involvement in digitalisation is divided into five main categories:

    1. Global supply chain – the 4th Way Project – taking an integrated approach to supply chain efficiency through digitalisation, decarbonisation, contractualisation and collaboration.

    2. Trade – the digitalisation of trade documents such as bills of lading. Electronic bills of lading are faster, safer and greener and, for the bulk shipping sector, reduce reliance on letters of indemnity. Establishing and implementing global standards.

    3. Ship efficiency and port calls – MSW (Maritime Single Window), VA (Virtual Arrival), JIT (Just in Time Arrival), and Blue Visby. Focus areas are: Increasing data transparency; accepting “single truth” data measurements for decision making, voyage optimisation, reporting and verification; converting waiting time into sailing time to increase efficiency and reduce emissions, reducing the on board administrative burden by automating manual data gathering and reporting tasks. Establishing and implementing global standards, which are robust and sustainable.

    4. Products and Databases BIMCO web site, SmartCon, Ship Performance Indicator. Key areas are product alignment, innovation and commercial adaptability.

    5. Internal digitalisationAssistive and Generative AI tools and other technological “streamliners”. Key areas are making internal processes faster and more efficient.

BIMCO’s position statement

  • BIMCO firmly supports the IMO to develop and adopt a strategy on digitalisation.
  • BIMCO supports the widespread adoption and implementation of the IMO’s Maritime Single Window (MSW) supplying a common data sharing interface between port stakeholders involved in a ship’s port call, by using the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business (IMO Compendium) as the link between ship-harvested data and the data sent to MSW, managing all administrative requirements and other maritime data.
  • BIMCO encourages authorities to deliver the requested framework for the IMO’s MSW as soon as possible.
  • BIMCO encourages the use of open standards for data exchange to avoid digital data disparity between large businesses and SMEs.
  • BIMCO facilitates dialogue and collaboration across the global supply chain in the application of digital solutions that improve end to end efficiency, embraces standards, and stimulates growth and innovation.
  • BIMCO will use digitalisation to continuously offer new benefits and tools such as better advising of members and more contemporary versions of SmartCon and Ship PI reflecting market needs.


Grant Hunter
in London,

VPS Bunker Alerts

Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) publish regular Bunker Alerts based entirely on fuel samples and have kindly permitted BIMCO’s Members to access this information.

The Bunker Alerts are not intended to be an evaluation of overall bunker quality in the port or area concerned, but usually highlight a specific parameter within the fuel which has raised a quality issue.

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