IMO's Single Window Solution Ready

Credit: IMO

Published Apr 11, 2019 6:15 PM by The Maritime Executive

The IMO's single window software system is now globally available after being implemented in Antigua and Barbuda.

A maritime single window enables all information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, people and cargo, to be submitted electronically via a single portal, without duplication. This type of system is recommended by IMO's Facilitation Convention, the treaty which aims to reduce administrative burdens and make shipping and trade by sea more efficient.

New requirements which came into effect on April 8, 2019 require national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports. The maritime single window is recommended. 

The maritime single window source code developed during the project will be released under the Open Source MIT License and made available on the web-based hosting service GitHub.

The generic system is not customized to any particular country, application or process, but will provide basic services to support the general acknowledged processes within any country that seeks to meet the obligations of the FAL Convention. The system will allow submission of standardized information covered by the FAL Convention to a single entry point, including the ability to upload several spreadsheets (including Crew and Effects, Passenger and Ship Stores Lists).

IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim said the generic Maritime Single Window system developed under the Norway-led project would perform many different services within the realm of ship reporting and information exchange, helping to make cross-border trade simpler. These services typically relate to registering port calls and facilitating the clearance of ships, passengers and crew members.  

Lim said the IMO would now look into establishing an appropriate and permanent funding system to implement Maritime Single Windows in other countries.

The project to implement a single window in Antigua and Barbuda was launched in October 2017. Norway provided in-kind and financial support to Antigua and Barbuda and the IMO assumed a coordination role. The fully functional generic maritime single window was delivered in December 2018. The final takeover of the system by Antigua and Barbuda was made in the first week of February 2019. The commencement of the pilot project (involving testing of the electronic procedures/parallel to existing procedures) launched on March 8, 2019 and will run to October 31, 2019. Transition to the full electronic system will commence on November 1, 2019.