In this smart world that we live in, the hard part is not to keep up with the technological changes, but to find the pieces missing and connect all of our digital knowledge to fill the gaps. Thus, when it comes to the shipping industry, although digitalization is the future, it is important that the industry focuses on two things; Data harmonization and data sharing.
To begin with, it is important to understand that data harmonization and data sharing is.
According to the World Customs Organization, data harmonization ensures that the data required by regulatory authorities to conduct procedures and formalities for goods clearance across borders is simple, clear and free of redundancies. Forms and electronic data submission should be based on international standards, and the same piece of information should be submitted only once. The process of data harmonization helps achieve this vital aspect of the Single Window.
According to Andreas Chrysostomou, CEO, Marine Fields, referring to the data sharing platform Perseus, explains that it enables actors to share time stamps and common situational awareness among each other associated to port call operations. It aims at providing capabilities for sharing time stamps, in the standardized format S-211, between port actors within ports, between ports, between ships and ports, and between ports and hinterland operators with the purpose of enhancing the predictability of port call operations.
Data sharing and harmonization aims to unite all stakeholders across the globe through shared data and information, as collaboration is the key to achieve a better operational and safer industry. A goal is to eliminate redundancies in required data, and duplication in the submission of trade data to government authorities, such as Customs and other regulatory agencies.
In addition, the maritime sector is making great efforts to achieve data harmonization and data sharing, launching the Maritime Single Window.
The Maritime single window covers the information flows between:
- The ship data providers, such as ship agent, master, shipping company;
- the relevant public authorities covering the port of call;
- Other Member States via SafeSeaNet.
Advantages of data sharing and harmonization
|Data harmonization||Data sharing|
What you need for an optimal data sharing platform
According to Mr. Chrysostomou, the industry needs an optimal data sharing platform which operates on universal standards or an open platform with no international standards and everybody can come in and translate accordingly.
However, under the possibility that chaos may arise from all the information, you need to have
- Standardized message exchanges
- Safe and secure digital interaction
- Enhanced situational awareness
- Multiple Sources (Data Input)
- Collaborative decision- making based on in real-time data sharing
- Global Implementation. That doesn’t mean a platform should be a monopoly. It could be different platforms connecting between themselves, or a number of port community systems having
- their own common platform.
- Compliant with the recommendations of International Standard/Rules Organizations
- Adaptable, Scalable; and
- Be able to use AI, Machine Learning & Blockchain
Concerning the regulations around data sharing, in 2019, BIMCO submitted two proposals to the IMO, for easy exchange of port logistic operational data and allow for real-time updates between ship and shore.
To remind, both proposals aimed to limit the administrative burden for the shipping industry, as well as to ensure better communication between ships, ports, terminals and all other parties involved through the harmonization of the data model used.