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Electronic Business


Electronic information exchange 

The FAL Convention encourages the use of modern information and communication technology and, in particular, electronic exchange of information, including electronic data interchange (EDI), to transmit information related to maritime transport. In order to achieve this objective, the information contained in the standardized forms contained in the Convention (FAL Forms) have been formatted using the appropriate standard codes found in the directories of the United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administrations, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT). Its principal focus is to facilitate national and international maritime transactions through the simplification and harmonization of processes of electronic business, procedures and information flows, thereby contributing to the growth of electronic exchange of information in maritime transport.

According to the Standard 1.3 bis, Public Authorities have to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information by 8 April 2019. A period of no less than 12 months for transition to the mandatory use of the systems shall be provided from the date of the introduction of such systems. A new Recommended Practice encourages the use of the "single window" concept, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal without duplication. The obligation to create systems for the electronic interchange of information established by Standard 1.3bis does not refer specifically to "single window", so the Contracting Governments can use system other than it to comply with this obligation too.

 

E-certificates

To facilitate to the clearance and inspection period for ships in port, the FAL Committee has taken joint initiative together with other IMO bodies for the "Online access to certificates and documents required to be carried on board ships".

FAL 39 agreed that 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 approved by the Organization and that specific verification instructions are available on board the ship. The Committee also agreed that electronic certificates viewed on a computer should be considered as meeting the requirement to be "on board". The Committee adopted accordingly the FAL Circular on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates.

This was further revised by FAL 40 at which the Committee approved a revised FAL circular on Guidelines for the use of electronic certificates, reflecting Member States' experience gained in using electronic certificates. (FAL.5-Circ.39-Rev.2).

The IMO secretariat has developed a tool on "Survey and Certification" in the GISIS module to provide information and consult e-certification verification website information. FAL 42 urged Member States to use GISIS to provide their e-certification verification website information.

 

Prototype of a maritime single window

The IMO Secretariat has been working on the design of a prototype of a maritime single window. The project was initiated following several needs-assessment missions for the enhancement of electronic information exchange, which identified that while the majority of Member States have some kind of single window in place related to cargo, only a few had single window for maritime transport.

At TC 65, the Technical Cooperation Committee agreed to include this project in the 2016-2017 ITCP.

FAL 41 included a new output to "Update the guidelines for setting up a single window system in maritime transport" in the 2017-2018 biennial agenda of the Committee, with a target completion year of 2019, A correspondence group was set up under the coordination of Japan, supported by 28 countries and organizations. FAL 42 has re-established the Correspondence Group to Amend the Guidelines for Setting up a Maritime Single Window, with the term of reference on preparing a completed draft revised FAL.5/Circ.36 for consideration by the Committee at FAL 43.

FAL 42 has agreed to put in abeyance the Committee's further work on the MSW prototype project until FAL 45 or such time when a request was made by a Member State to recommence the work, and noted that this did not prevent ongoing initiatives and discussions on the prototype by other committees, such as the Technical Cooperation Committee.

 

IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business

The IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business was approved by FAL 28 in order to encourage the use of modern information technology and in particular, electronic exchange of information, including Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) to transmit information related to maritime transport.

The information contained in the standardized forms contained in the FAL Forms have been formatted using the appropriate standard codes found in the directories of the United Nations/Electronic Data Interchange for Administrations, Commerce and Transport (UN/EDIFACT).

FAL 41 approved a new output on "Review and revision of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business", with two sessions needed to complete the item. The maintenance process of the IMO compendium is under a cooperation mechanism between IMO and World Customs Organization (WCO), where WCO is responsible of the technical maintenance and IMO is the decision maker body for the Compendium.

WCO works intersessionally with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the other organizations and Member States, for the harmonization of the various data models and mapping relationships among data on "IMO FAL Compendium Technical Maintenance".

FAL 42 has invited WCO to continue hosting the informal correspondence group, open to all interested parties.

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Cyberthreats

In light of the dramatic increase in the use of cyber systems across the maritime sector, FAL 39 agreed to include a new item in the agenda of the FAL Committee on "Guidelines on the facilitation aspects of protecting the maritime transport network from cyberthreats".

FAL 39 and FAL 40 have considered the facilitation aspects of protecting the maritime transport network from cyber threats, including the need to address particular risks to maritime single windows, processes for electronic certificates and data exchange between ships and shore, pre-arrival information based on the Facilitation Convention and processes involving ship-port interface.

MSC 98 and FAL 41 approved MSC-FAL.1/Circ.3 on Guidelines on Maritime Cyber Risk Management to address cyber risks in the maritime domain. Additionally, MSC 98 approved Resolution MSC.428(98) on Maritime Cyber Risk Management in Safety Management Systems, encouraging shipping companies to address cyber risks in their safety management systems.

Leading industry stakeholders made an effort to establish Guidelines on Cyber Security Onboard Ship, providing an overarching scope of nature in relation to cyber security.

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