International coalitions call on maritime industry to make strides on data and transparency

It seems that imports and exports are taking place at ports where many containers are lined up.

International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA) and other global maritime coalitions have called upon the industry to make progress on issues ranging from the harmonisation of data, emerging technologies and supply chain transparency.

According to a statement, the ICHA has come together with International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH), BIMCO, the International Cargo Handling Coordination Association (ICHCA), the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Harbour Masters’ Association (IHMA).

Additionally, the International Maritime Pilots Association (IMPA), the International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA), the International Ship Suppliers’ Association (ISSA), the Federation of National Associations of Ship Brokers and Agents (FONASBA) and the PROTECT Group are also included.

In total, the parties’ call to action concerns nine areas where the maritime industry could benefit, particularly as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

1. To assess the state of implementation of existing legislation meant to support transmission, receipt and response of information in ports and find ways of transitioning to full-fledged single windows.

2. To ensure harmonisation of data standards beyond the IMO FAL Convention to facilitate sharing of port and berth-related master data for just-in-time operation of ships. This, the parties say, can be achieved through use of the supply chain standards of the International Standardization Organization.

3. To strive for the introduction of Port Community Systems and secure data exchange platforms in the main ports of all Member States represented in the IMO.

4. To review existing IMO guidance on Maritime Cyber Risk Management on its ability to address cyber risks in ports, developing additional guidance where needed.

5. To raise awareness and promote best practices and standardisation on how port communities can apply emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, internet of things, digital twins, robotics process automation, autonomous systems, blockchain, virtual reality and augmented reality.

6. To facilitate the implementation of emerging technologies to improve the efficiency and safety of the port environment.

7. To develop a framework and roadmap to facilitate the implementation and operationalisation of digital port platforms where authorised port community service providers and users can share data under secure data sharing protocols, enabling these platforms to connect with hinterland supply chains as well.

8. To establish a coalition of willing stakeholders to improve transparency of the supply chain through collaboration and standardisation, starting with the long overdue introduction of the electronic bill of lading.

9. To set up a capacity building framework to support smaller, less developed, and understaffed port communities, not only with technical facilities but also with training of personnel. Quality data exchange requires a trained workforce with mid- and long-term perspectives to build, implement, support, and sometimes override technology.

“Working on these priorities requires collaboration between maritime supply chain industry stakeholders and government,” the parties said in a statement.

“Above all, it calls for inter-governmental collaboration as the acceleration of digitalisation will require change management at local, regional, and national levels.

“National trade facilitation committees implemented under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement could be an excellent instrument for member states and port authorities to drive the change.”

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