Facilitation Committee, 41st session, 4-7 April 2017

Updating of the Explanatory Manual to the FAL Convention
The Committee made progress in updating of the Explanatory Manual to the FAL Convention to reflect the amendments to the Annex to the FAL Convention adopted by FAL 40, which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2018. The Committee agreed to establish a correspondence group to progress the work intersessionally, and extended the scope of the review of the Explanatory Manual to include additional aspects, such as best practices, operation procedures in ports, etc, and agreed to extend the target completion date until 2019.

Maritime Single Window project
The Committee 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. However, the goal was not to establish a global system.

Member States and non-governmental organizations were invited to submit information to the next session to progress the project further. 

The Committee established a correspondence group to review and update the guidelines for setting up a single window system in maritime transport (FAL.5/Circ.36), to ensure it reflects best practices and accurately reflects developments in maritime trade, electronic and automated machine-to-machine communication and cooperation between Member States, and other relevant developments.

“Electronic signature” discussed
The Committee discussed the development of guidance relating to electronic signature and decided to develop (at the next session) guidance for authentication, integrity and confidentiality of content for the purpose of exchange via maritime single windows, with a target completion date of 2019.  

Review of the compendium on electronic business 
The Committee agreed on the need to review the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business, with a target completion date of 2019. 

The Committee also invited the World Customs Organization (WCO) to continue hosting an informal correspondence group on interoperability, standardization, and harmonization issues. 

Stowaways reporting form updated
The Committee agreed on the importance of including information related to port, port facility number, berth and terminal information when Member States and international organizations report stowaways’ incidents to the Organization. The Committee agreed to update the circular on information on stowaway incidents (FAL.2/Circ.50/Rev.2), and issue a new unified interpretation to Appendix 3 of the FAL Convention, to reflect this.

Reduction in number of stowaways
According to information provided by the P&I Clubs, statistics for stowaway cases in 2014-2015 showed a significant decrease in the numbers of incidents and stowaways (the full set of data will be submitted to FAL 42). The Committee also noted that IMO capacity-building activities, including regional seminars on stowaways, had led to a reduction in the number of stowaway cases in targeted ports.

Cyber security guidance agreed
The Committee, recognizing that the existing Interim guidelines on maritime cyber risk management (MSC.1/Circ.1526) already contains already facilitation aspects, approved a joint MSC-FAL circular on Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management (subject to concurrent decision by MSC 98).

Reduction of administrative burden in cases of vessel needing to put sick or injured persons ashore
The Committee approved a circular to encourage public authorities to share the relevant information submitted by the master of a vessel needing to put sick or injured persons ashore amongst themselves, in order not to create an additional administrative burden to the ship, through multiple reporting requirements.