BIMCO calls on IMO to harmonise digital data reporting

Sarah Carter
Sarah Carter

11 June 2018


As the shipping sector strives for efficiency, BIMCO has provided input at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a bid to facilitate the harmonisation of data ahead of the April 2019 deadline when new mandatory requirements come into force for automated ship reporting.

From April 2019, new mandatory requirements on electronic exchange of information from ships to the relevant onshore parties when approaching a port, will require public authorities to have systems in place to assist ship clearance processes.

These processes were discussed at the 42nd session of the IMO’s Facilitation Committee (FAL) in London on June 5-8th, in addition to how the IMO e-navigation framework can be strengthened.

“Electronic and automatic ship reporting plays an important role in facilitating efficient shipping. Automated and standardized ship reporting will greatly reduce the administrative burden of both the crew onboard and the authorities ashore,” says BIMCO manager, Maritime Technology and Regulation, Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl.

The standardized ship reporting measures consist of two integrated parts. The first part is the automatic collection of data on board the ship. Ships must submit the data in the correct format for transmission to a single window application ashore, the Maritime Single Window. The second part is the distribution of the collected data (the ship's information) to the relevant shore parties such as maritime authorities, customs, police and defence via the Maritime Single Window solution.

Automated digital ship reporting is dependent on the single window solution ashore, as it uses a standardized data format that makes it possible to transfer information easily and consistently between the ship and shore and vice versa.

To ensure progress and preparation ahead of April 2019, BIMCO, together with Liberia, the Marshall Islands and Turkey has submitted a proposal requesting the IMO to harmonize data even further.

“The proposal was very well received by the IMO during this process of preparation. Preparation and implementation of processes that work well for all parties involved will pave the way for automated ship reporting, and help avoid potential chaos of systems for electronic exchange of information created at the last minute,” says Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl.

BIMCO has also launched a proposal to the IMO to establish a maritime register (database) to facilitate co-operation and direct exchange of information between the parties involved.

The IMO Committee decided during the meeting to put on hold work on a Maritime Single Window prototype, until a future Committee meeting or until a member state requests assistance to work on such a prototype.