BIMCO urges IMO to harmonise digital data reporting


In 2019 the new mandatory requirements on Electronic Data Interchange require public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information to assist ship clearance processes.

BIMCO will attend the 42nd session of the IMO’s Committee on Facilitation Committee (FAL 42), which will be held in London from 5 to 8 June 2018.

IMO's Facilitation Committee works to make port calls, handling of cargos and passengers more efficient to facilitate trade and the world economy. It is the parent committee of the FAL Convention, which contains formalities, documentary requirements and procedures applied on port arrival, stay and departure.

It also addresses security-related incidents (for example stowaways, illegal migrants on board the ship or drug trafficking).

Important items on the agenda

Facilitation of automated ship reporting

Work on standardising and harmonising electronic ship reporting and automated collection of onboard data for reporting is part of the FAL agenda. The maritime single window concept is a central element in this process. Several projects have been contributing to pave the way for automation. One of them is the EfficienSea 2 project and BIMCO has submitted a paper entitled: Revision of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business. The co-sponsors are: Liberia, the Marshall Islands, Turkey and BIMCO.

The proposal requests the IMO to add harmonisation of data ID to the ongoing work of paving the way for digitalisation of maritime services. Currently, there are several international standards that –unfortunately –use different IDs for the same data element. This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to develop an international standardised end-user machine-to-machine solution. The data element IDs are key to ensuring proper and practical implementation of machine-to-machine solutions.

The document also proposes the establishment of a maritime register (database) for the data element IDs. The register should be harmonised and standardised to ensure interoperability between services thereby facilitating the direct exchange of information.

Maritime Single Window

In order to comply with the new mandatory requirements on electronic data interchange, public authorities have until spring 2019 to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information to assist ship clearance processes. Last year, the decision was taken to develop a prototype based on the maritime single window systems that had already been implemented in several member states. BIMCO will hold a lunch time presentation to outline our suggested way forward based on the outcome of the EfficienSea 2 project.

Maritime corruption impact on global trade, port governance and seafarers

The Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) is a global business network established in 2011 as an industry-led initiative, working collaboratively towards the vision of a maritime industry free of corruption that enables fair trade to the benefit of society at large. MACN with the support of BIMCO raises concerns on how maritime corruption has a negative effect: how it impedes social and economic development and how it may contribute to other risks such as security in ports, on board ships and on the well-being, health and safety of seafarers.

Amendment of the Explanatory Manual (FAL.3/Circ.202) to the FAL Convention

The amendment work has been done by correspondence and several departments in BIMCO have contributed to the work. The explanatory manual helps to interpret the legal text of the FAL Convention, that can be complex and at times difficult to understand. The old version is seven years old and is being updated to cover developments especially on electronic certificates, which will become the mandatory as from April 2019.

A brief report on the outcome of the meeting will be published shortly after the meeting.


Aron Soerensen
in Copenhagen, DK


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