For international shipping to thrive, a unified, global approach to Facilitation is vital. This is the purpose of the international treaty called the FAL Convention. 

The FAL Convention has been in force since 1967 but is kept continually amended and updated by Governments at the FAL Committee of IMO – which usually meets once a year at IMO’s London Headquarters.

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In its Annex, the FAL Convention contains standards and recommended practices and rules for simplifying formalities, documentary requirements and procedures on ships’ arrival, stay and departure.

 Under the FAL Committee, IMO has developed standardized FAL documentation (known as FAL Forms) for authorities and Governments to use, and the FAL Convention urges all stakeholders to use these. 

Since April 2019, the FAL Convention makes it mandatory for ships and ports to exchange FAL data electronically and encourages the 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 Explanatory Manual to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic contains guidance and interpretation of the provisions of the annex of the FAL Convention, assists in interpreting the legal text of the provisions and provides for a greater understanding of the Convention. The Manual was last reviewed and updated by FAL 43 in April 2019.

 For more detailed information on the FAL Convention click here.

The FAL Convention is available for purchase in print and electronic formats here.