An online webinar (24 October) has highlighted the benefits and opportunities for maritime trade arising from the application of the maritime single window (MSW) to electronic ship clearance processes in ports. This single window process will become mandatory for Contracting Governments to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention on 1 January 2024. 

Webinar panelists, representing IMO, ports and shipowners, recognized the window of opportunities that the new requirement will bring to the sector, including the positive impact in port operations; increasing efficiency of ports and reducing the time in ports of ships; reduction of time processes and human power working hours; reduction of emissions in ports or improve the safety of ship port calls.

The participants further noted the success factors when implementing a MSW, including the need for political will; a lead agency; and good cooperation between Governments and industry to implement a single window.

The panelists encouraged the use of common standards for ship reporting and data exchange to ensure harmonization and interoperability, recognizing that the IMO Compendium is an important instrument to achieve this objective. The IMO Compendium is a tool for software developers that design the systems needed to support transmission, receipt, and response via electronic data exchange of information required for the arrival, stay, and departure of the ship, persons, and cargo to a port. This common approach will prevent the proliferation of different local single window solutions that would entail an unacceptable administrative burden to ships’ crews.

The webinar is the first milestone event organized jointly by IMO, the International Association of Ports and Harbours (IAPH) and BIMCO to prepare for the upcoming obligation of the single window in January 2024. A Hybrid Symposium on 18-19 January 2023 in IMO will follow, where experts from Governments, ports, the shipping industry and standards organizations from all around the world will speak about maritime single window implementation and digitalization, lessons learnt and the benefits of the maritime single window. The symposium will be of special interest to administrations involved in clearance at ports, in particular customs, ports authorities and maritime administrations. Other stakeholders interested in the symposium are ship masters, ship owners, managers and ship agents. For further information, please email