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Industry bodies call for digitalisation to be accelerated in maritime sector

shipping and freight news - shipping and freight resourceThere is an urgent need for inter-governmental organisations, governments and industry stakeholders concerned with maritime trade and logistics to come together and accelerate the pace of digitalisation“..

This is the message from several industry bodies representing a range of shipping, port, cargo handling and ship operating organisations..

In a statement,

  • International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) ;
  • BIMCO ;
  • International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) ;
  • International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) ;
  • International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA) ;
  • International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA) ;
  • International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) ;
  • Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA) ;
  • International Ship Suppliers’ Association (ISSA) ; and
  • PROTECT Group

have launched a call to action to achieve several objectives on priority..

These bodies have called on regulatory bodies and the broader shipping, logistics, trade and supply chain industry to realise, acknowledge and recognise the benefits of using digital technologies in various ports around the world..

Listing seaports as critical infrastructures to keep supply chains moving and economies across the world functioning, and recognising the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has painfully demonstrated the heterogeneous landscape that currently exists across ports worldwide, the statement lists several objectives as below..

The aim of these objectives is :

  1. To assess the state of implementation and find ways to enforce the already mandatory requirements defined in the International Maritime Organization’s Facilitation (IMO FAL) Convention ;
  2. To ensure harmonisation of data standards beyond the IMO FAL Convention to facilitate sharing of port and berth-related master data ;
  3. To strive for the introduction of Port Community Systems and secure data exchange platforms (at present, only 49 of the 174 Member States of the International Maritime Organization have functioning Port Community Systems to date) ;
  4. To review existing IMO guidance on Maritime Cyber Risk Management on its ability to address cyber risks in ports ;
  5. To raise awareness, avoid misconceptions, promote best practices and standardisation on how port communities can apply emerging technologies practically ;
  6. To facilitate the implementation of such emerging technologies and other innovative tools to increase health security in port environments ;
  7. To develop a framework and roadmap to facilitate the implementation and operationalisation of digital port platforms ;
  8. To establish a coalition of willing stakeholders to improve the transparency of supply chain through collaboration and standardisation ;
  9. To set up a capacity-building framework to support smaller, less developed, and under-staffed port communities

digitalisation shipping

BIMCO has mentioned that they “will be assisting in the delivery of many of these priorities but has also advised that working on these priorities will require collaboration between maritime supply chain industry stakeholders and government and has called for inter-governmental collaboration as the acceleration of digitalisation will require change management at local, regional, and national levels.“..

National trade facilitation committees implemented under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and the adoption of the long-awaited Electronic Bill of Lading (eBL) are being touted as instruments for member states and port authorities to drive the change..

The statement also calls on all stakeholders to cooperate on the development of platforms for the exchange of data and “smart working” along the entire supply chain, backed up by capacity building initiatives including workforce training and the introduction of enhanced cybersecurity provisions..

It is understood that the policy document will be submitted to the IMO as a proposal for further discussion and dissemination..

The full statement about the need for digitalisation in the maritime sector to be accelerated can be downloaded here..


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