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IMO to introduce digital directives Featured

The changes apply to port clearance The changes apply to port clearance IMO

Following a five-year review, the IMO Facilitation Committee has approved amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, 1965, which will introduce the mandatory electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers.

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The convention deals with procedures relating to the arrival, stay and departure of ships, as well as to their crew, passengers, baggage and cargo.

Public authorities will be obligated to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information within three years, and a transitional period of approximately 12 months will exist, where paper and electronic documents will both be allowed.

The IMO has recommended the use of a “Single Window” concept to enable information entry without duplication. An existing EU directive mandates that its Member States must adopt a “Single Window” system by June 2015 at the latest.

The system allows parties involved in trade and transport to submit, just once, standardised information using electronic data transmission, with a single entry point to fulfil all ship, import, export, and transit-related regulatory requirements.

The IMO has stated it plans to develop a “Single Window” prototype in conjunction with experts in IT and port clearance.

Other developments include the addition of cyber security to the Committee’s agenda, with the IMO recognising it as “a relevant and urgent issue for the Organisation.”

The Committee also approved the revised version of FAL.5/Circ.39 on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates, whereby electronic certificates should be treated as equivalent to traditional paper certificates, “provided that the certificates and the website used to access them conform to the guidelines and that specific verification instructions are available on board the ship.”

The new revised annex could enter into force 15 months after adoption, under the tacit acceptance procedure.   

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