IMO adopts ‘single window’ concept for international shipping
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers.
The “single window” concept is designed to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo is submitted via a single portal without duplication.
According to IMO, the adoption form part of a revised and modernized annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), which aims to harmonize procedures for ship’s arrival, stay and departure from port.
IMO explained in a statement that the new standard relating to the obligation of public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information, within a period of three years after the adoption of the amendments, is among important changes in the revised Annex, which is expected to enter into force on January 1, 2018, under the tacit acceptance procedure.
Also, there will be a transitional period of 12 months from the date of the introduction of such systems to make electronic transmission mandatory, during which period paper and electronic documents would be allowed.
The FAL treaty, first adopted in 1965, aims at securing the highest practicable degree of uniformity in formalities and other procedures, including mandatory “Standards” and “Recommended Practices” on formalities, documentary requirements and procedures which should be applied on arrival, stay and departure to the ship itself, and to its crew, passengers, baggage and cargo.
According to IMO, these include standardised forms for the maximum information required for the general declaration, cargo declaration, crew list and passenger list; and agreed essential minimum information requirements for the ship’s stores declaration and crew’s effects declaration.
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