BIMCO encourages uniform ship-port data exchange in IMO submission


BIMCO, flag administrations and port associations have submitted a proposal to the IMO Facilitation Committee to develop IMO guidelines that provide global industry standards for data and data sharing, with the aim to enhance communication and thereby efficiency during port calls.

As ships and ports are looking to reduce costs are increase efficiency, optimizing the supply chain has for a long time been a focus area. To achieve this, a step that can be taken in the short term is to ensure that procedures, standards and software solutions are developed to reduce delays and eliminate idle process steps.

Traditionally, ships are served on a first-come-first-served basis upon their arrival to a port, which often leads to “hurry and wait” behaviour.

In reality, maintaining punctual ship arrivals according to the pre-set schedule is sometimes hard to achieve, not because the ships have challenges in making the sea passage, but due to delays in upstream ports, making it hard - or impossible - for the ship to make its next port call on time.

This is particularly the case for short sea shipping arrivals, or when ships require repositioning in a port after cargo operations in one terminal prior to further work in another.

Harmonized communication interface between all actors is therefore needed, as any gap in communication may lead to operational inefficiency or even incidents that jeopardize safety and/or protection of the environment.

The submission by BIMCO, flag administrations and port associations to the IMO states that availability and use of high-quality data - operational as well as administrative data for notifications and declarations - is necessary to improve the port calls and that global industry standards will be key. The new output will deliver a transparent “step by step guidance” that can ensure proper uniformed implementation.

Harmonized ship-port data exchange is a cost-effective way to improve safe navigation from berth to berth and to contribute to reducing emissions in the supply chain from manufacturer to customer. A lack of standardization of information of port services to ships and coordination between organizations responsible for providing the information, may lead to a duplication of efforts. 
An effective port call can only be achieved if the necessary and right information is exchanged between actors at the right time. 

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Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl
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