IMO’s Facilitation Committee has adopted amendments to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention which will make the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world, marking a significant step in the acceleration of digitalization in shipping.
he Facilitation Convention was adopted in 1965 and contains standards and recommended practices and rules for simplifying formalities, documentary requirements and procedures on ships’ arrival, stay and departure. The Convention has been updated continuously, embracing digitalization and automation for procedures.
The amendments adopted at the Facilitation Committee (FAL 46) session, which met 9 to 13 May, are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024.
Mandatory Single Window
The amendments update the provisions of the FAL Convention on mandatory electronic data exchange in ports for ship clearance. The amendments to the annex of the Convention will make it mandatory for public authorities to establish, maintain and use single window systems for the electronic exchange of information required on arrival, stay and departure of ships in ports.
In addition, public authorities will have to combine or coordinate the electronic transmission of the data to ensure that information is submitted or provided only once and reused to the maximum extent possible.
The Committee approved related guidelines on authentication, integrity and confidentiality of information exchanges via maritime single windows and related services; and revised guidelines for setting up a maritime single window.
Progress on MASS regulations
The FAL Committee approved the outcome of the regulatory scoping exercise (RSE), which analyzed relevant ship safety treaties under the remit of the Committee to assess how maritime autonomous surface ships (MASS) could be regulated.
The Committee concurred with the establishment of an MSC-LEG-FAL Joint Working Group on MASS to provide advice on and consider ways to address common issues identified by the three committees.