European Ports Raise Single-Window Concern

Credit: Alan Jamieson
Credit: Alan Jamieson

By The Maritime Executive 10-25-2018 05:32:02

The European Sea Ports Organisation (ESPO) has raised concerns over a key aspect of the proposed Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment, saying a harmonized reporting interface module may limit flexibility.

The concept of a European Maritime Single Window environment is being developed to reduce the administrative burden on ships and to facilitate the use of digital information with the aim of improving the efficiency and contributing to a digital multimodal logistic chain. It includes:

•  Fully harmonized interfaces available to ship operators to provide information in the same way and format across the E.U.

•  A standardized maximum data set including the information necessary for the management of port and port terminals in order to ensure true submit-only-once. Any relevant data already provided to authorities should be made available and not be required again.

On October 15, the European Parliament’s Committee on Transport and Tourism published the draft report on the Commission’s proposal for a Regulation establishing a European Maritime Single Window environment, which came out on May 17. In her draft report, the rapporteur, MEP Deirdre Clune (EPP-Ireland), focused on the harmonization of data elements and data sets. She advocates the cooperation between customs and maritime authorities at both national and Union level and recognized that, even with a fully harmonized data set, competent authorities might for some reasons require additional data. 

The draft report also states that Member states should allow the use of port community systems, as long as those systems are then passing the necessary information to the National Single Window. The rapporteur also stresses the need to provide National Single Windows with a governance dimension and takes a realistic approach concerning the reporting only once principle.

European ports are concerned, however, about the development of a harmonized reporting interface module for the National Single Windows. They fear that such a solution will not be flexible enough to respond to fast moving technological developments in the field.

ESPO believes that ensuring a multichannel approach for reporting is important. The ports believes that any proposal should be technology neutral and should focus on data harmonization instead of prescribing technical solutions. Technological development is currently moving fast and there is a risk that once the reporting interface module is developed by the Commission, it could very rapidly be outdated by new developments in the market. Therefore, ESPO believes that it should be left to the
industry to select and implement its own particular solutions as part of an open environment.

ESPO’s position paper, released in March, states that it is of paramount importance that reporting is done through resilient and robust, yet flexible systems that ensure the reliability of data and allow for a multichannel approach, allowing the use of port community systems.

The draft report will be discussed in the Transport Committee on November 5.