Major Countries Make Digital Shipping Pact

 25 Apr 2017 10.25am

Maritime authorities in Denmark, Singapore and Norway have taken a step towards global ship digitisation by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on electronic certification.

Authorities in shipping nations aim to drastically reduce the time spent by PSC officers checking documents on board ships in ports.

With the MOU, they will promote digital certification for ships registered under the flags of Denmark, Singapore and Norway.

They must also accept electronic certificates for port entry and Port State Control inspections, as well as share data on certification issuance, use, and acceptance.

This is the first MoU between the maritime authorities of European and Asian countries that promotes digital documents over the hard copy documents largely used by shipping companies today.

Paper certificates force flag administrations, classification societies, seafarers, and shipowners to commit manpower and finance to several processes.

They pay for the preparation, printing and delivery of paper certificates.

​Prior to the MoU, the Danish Maritime Authority (DMA) had worked within the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to gain acceptance of electronic certificates. Subsequently, the DMA began to issue only digital certificates.

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It had announced on June 24, 2017 that Danish ships must begin using digital instead of paper certificates from the time that each certificate expires.

The success of the new digital certificate regime depends upon its acceptance by the global maritime community, the authorities said.

Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said: “Through such initiatives as e-certification, Singapore seeks to harness the growing importance of information and communications technology to prepare the maritime sector for a digital future.

“We look forward to working with more partners to promote the use of technology in the industry. The time is ripe for this.

“I am glad that Denmark, Norway and Singapore have led the way to show the potential of harnessing ICT to improve administrative efficiency while reducing costs for the benefit of the industry.”

Andreas Nordseth, Director General of the DMA, said: “Our first target is to inspire and support more countries to implement similar solutions.

“The reduction of paperwork benefits all stakeholders as it makes the entire maritime sector more efficient.

“We hold high hopes that the Memorandum of Understanding signed today will encourage many countries to complete a similar transition.”

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