Specifically, the IMO Compendium is a reference manual that includes data sets and the structure and relationships between them. These facts will facilitate IMO Member States to fulfil a mandatory obligation, which applies since April 2019, regarding the reporting formalities for ships, cargo and people on board international shipping to be performed electronically and in a harmonised way.

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Namely, by harmonizing the data elements necessary during a port call and by standardizing electronic messages, the IMO Compendium aspires to facilitate the exchange of information ship to shore and the interoperability of single windows, reducing the administrative burden for ships linked to formalities in ports.

The tool consists of an IMO Data Set and IMO Reference Data Model agreed by the main organizations involved in the development of standards for the electronic exchange of information related to the FAL Convention: the World Customs Organization (WCO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and International Organization for Standardization (ISO).  These organizations have also aligned their own data structures with the IMO Compendium to promote harmonization.

Overall this helps make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient, for the more than 10 billion tons of goods which are traded by sea annually across the globe

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In addition, since July 2019, the IMO Expert Group on Data Harmonization (EGDH) is responsible for the technical maintenance of the IMO Compendium and for further expanding its data set and data model to areas beyond the FAL Convention, including exchange of logistics and operational port and shipping data. The first meeting of this expert group took place from 4 to 8 November 2019 at IMO.

Click in the following link to access the new, free IMO Compendium online.