On 13-17 March, the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Facilitation Committee (FAL) was held in London and a BIMCO delegation was present with the aim to raise awareness of the importance of digitalization within the maritime industry, calling for the IMO to develop a specific strategy on digitalization.
In particular, as the shipping industry works towards decarbonisation, digitalization will play an increasingly important role, as measures that can help cut GHG emissions through digitalisation and improved efficiency are already available.
BIMCO is working towards the adoption of improved measures in the industry and beyond, and the delegation suggested that the IMO develops a specific strategy on digitalization to advance the agenda within the IMO and beyond.
As explained, such a new strategy would help ensure consistency between the current challenges relating to the Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS), the Maritime Single Window, e-navigation and many other digital initiatives at IMO level. It would also send a strong signal internally and externally by showing a clear direction of the priorities when it comes to the digitalisation agenda at the IMO.
The intervention by the BIMCO delegation was supported by the Bahamas, Denmark, Liberia, Norway, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, and the Committee agreed to inform the Intersessional IMO Working Group on the Strategic Plan (ISWG-SP), currently reviewing its strategic plan, covering the six-year period 2024 to 2029. The United Arab Emirates has previously proposed to include digitalization in the next strategic plan of the IMO. BIMCO supports this proposal but also believes there is a need to take the proposal one step further by suggesting that digitalisation has its own specific strategy developed as this would result in far greater outreach publicly and within all of the maritime industry.
Furthermore, like the IMO GHG strategy, an overarching IMO maritime strategy on digitalisation could outline the objectives and principles required to drive further development, while ensuring adequate implementation of IMO regulations needed. This could establish short-term and long-term goals, regular reviews and updates to regulations, and at the same time keep up with the evolving technology and challenging needs of the industry.
As informed, based on the positive response by the IMO member states, BIMCO will now support amending the agenda both at FAL and IMO Council as a step towards the development of an IMO maritime digital strategy.
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