At the request of Angola, IMO fielded a mission to Lobito, from 23 to 27 January 2023, to assess progress made in the implementation of the IMO-Singapore “Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) Project”.
The Angolan port is piloting the development of a Maritime Single Window (MSW) system to allow electronic submission, through a single online portal, of all information required by various Government agencies when a ship calls at the port.
The Port of Lobito Maritime Single Window is, as yet, in its early stages of development and prototypes are being developed. The Angola team will then provide feedback so that improvements can be made as the MSW is developed and built. IMO has recruited an additional consultant to support ongoing work in the Port of Lobito.
The mission was an opportunity to identify any matters that need to be addressed to ensure the SWiFT project is successfully completed and handed over to Lobito Port as planned in July 2023.
The system will be ready for use following a program of training for Angolan personnel and will serve as a template for more ports in Africa in the future.
High-level ministerial meetings were held in the Angolan capital, Luanda, including the National Trade Facilitation Committee which comprises the Angolan Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Transport, Industry, and Commerce, and the National Maritime Agency (Agência Marítima Nacional (AMN)).
The objective was to ascertain the progress of the pilot project whilst supporting Angola in its efforts to ratify the FAL Convention.
The IMO team visited the Port of Lobito and the Port of Luanda in order to better understand work on the ground. Whilst there, the IMO team and Rosa Sobrinho, CEO of AMN, met and briefed Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, the Honourable Minister of Transport of Angola, on the outcome of the mission.
IMO informed the Minister that it will discuss with Singapore the need to link the SWiFT project to the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to assist in the efficient handling of all aspects of cargo and customs in the port.
Those already involved in the Lobito Port pilot project, in particular the CEO of the Maritime Administration, reaffirmed their strong commitment to fast-track the project to ensure its completion on time as well as its suitability for the specific needs of the Port of Lobito.
AMN, the agency of the Ministry of Transport, which is responsible for the port of Lobito, has now confirmed it will be directly involved in the implementation of the SWiFT project.
IMO and AMN discussed training requirements, as well as a proposed trip by Angolan port personnel to Singapore to see the Maritime Single Window there in operation. Singapore will conduct further training on the operations of the SWiFT Project in the Port of Lobito before the hand-over in July.
The SWiFT project was established to support medium-size ports to meet the requirements of the FAL Convention and facilitate interconnectivity between ports worldwide through the development of a generic and secure IMO-Maritime Single Window. More information about the SWiFT project can be found here.
The initiative is one of IMO’s strategic partnerships with donors to support the mandatory requirements of the FAL Convention which will enter into force on 1 January 2024.
This requires public authorities to establish a Maritime Single Window with provisions of electronic information exchange such that all information is submitted once and reused to the maximum extent possible.
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