Amendments to the Facilitation Convention were adopted in 2016 and they entered into force on 1 January 2017 (read more here).
The FAL Convention amendments make it mandatory for ships and ports to exchange FAL data electronically from 8 April 2019. There is provision for a transitional period of at least 12 months, during which paper and electronic documents are allowed.
The FAL Convention encourages use of the so-called “single window” concept in which all the many agencies and authorities involved exchange data via a single point of contact. The maritime single window system allows for the streamlining of procedures, via electronic systems, for provision of information related to the arrival, stay and departure of the ship itself, and data on its crew, passengers and cargo, in accordance with the requirements of the FAL Convention.
IMO has been supporting Member States to prepare for electronic data exchange, with national and regional seminars and work shops.
A project is underway in Antigua and Barbuda to develop a maritime single window. Following the installation of the first, basic system platform in 2018, testing and implementation has begun. If successful, the system, developed by Norway, could potentially benefit other countries of the Caribbean region and be rolled out to other regions of the world.