Single window for ship data exchange to become mandatory under FAL treaty amendments

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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.

The amendments to the annex of the Convention will make it mandatory for public authorities to establish, maintain and use single window (SW) 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 re-used to the maximum extent possible.

The amendments adopted at the session are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2024.

The 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 committee also approved related guidelines on authentication, integrity and confidentiality of information exchanges via maritime single windows and related services, which are aligned with the IMO Compendium and revised guidelines for setting up a maritime single window.

The updated annex to the FAL Convention includes provisions derived from lessons learned during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Contracting Governments and their relevant public authorities are required to allow ships and ports to remain fully operational during a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), in order to maintain complete functionality of global supply chains to the greatest extent possible.

The Committee approved the addition of new cyber risk guidance from IAPH to IMO’s Guidelines on maritime cyber risk management.

The ‘IAPH Cybersecurity Guidelines for Ports and Port Facilities’ are intended for use by port management and urge operators to consider cyber risks in the context of their own operations and develop a cyber risk management strategy that includes technical training for staff.

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