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.
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)
Prototype of a maritime single window
To support the implementation of the mandatory systems for the electronic exchange of information, 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 40 updated IMO's Maritime Single Window project for the electronic exchange of arrival and departure information, in order to support the implementation of the new FAL requirements.
The Committee requested the IMO Secretariat to report back to FAL 41 with an analysis of the needs, a summary of commonalities and any additional information related to the project. In the meantime, Member
States requiring assistance for the implementation of maritime single windows were invited to contact the Secretariat to discuss their specific needs and explore possible solutions. Member States and organizations willing to assist with the implementation of maritime single windows or the development of a prototype were also invited to contact IMO (firstname.lastname@example.org) or submit information to the next session.
Further on, FAL 41 discussed the way forward for IMO’s Maritime Single Window project. There was support for the development of a completely new prototype, taking into account the experience of others in the development and implementation of maritime single window systems.
The Committee recognized that the project provided a framework that Member States might refer to, to help them meet their obligations to establish electronic interchange of information by 9 April 2019.
FAL 41 invited Member States and international organizations to provide information on the main deliverables, budget implications, schedule, and how the IMO prototype single window would help the recipient nations meet the scope, concepts and guidance in FAL.5/Circ.36 and other fundamental single window goals by the effective date of 2019
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).
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.
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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