The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has fielded a mission to Lobito Port in Angola to assess the progress of the implementation of the IMO-Singapore “Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) Project”.
The Angolan port is piloting the development of a Maritime Single Window (MSW) system to allow electronic submission, through a single online portal, of all information required by various government agencies when a ship calls at the port.
The Lobito Port Maritime Single Window is, as yet, in its early stages of development.
The Angola team will then provide feedback so that improvements can be made as the MSW is developed and built.
IMO has recruited an additional consultant to support ongoing work in Lobito Port.
READ: Port of Lobito chosen for IMO-Singapore Maritime Single Window project
This mission has come as part of IMO’s drive to accelerate digitalisation to strengthen the facilitation of international maritime traffic.
The mission was an opportunity to identify any matters that need to be addressed to ensure the SWiFT project is successfully completed and handed over to the Lobito Port as planned in July 2023.
The SWiFT project was established to support medium-size ports to meet the requirements of the FAL Convention and facilitate interconnectivity between ports worldwide through the development of a generic and secure IMO-Maritime Single Window.
The FAL Convention offers standards, suggested practices, and guidelines for streamlining documentation needs, formalities, and ship arrival, stay, and departure processes.
READ: IMO launches Maritime Single Window pilot project
The initiative is one of IMO’s strategic partnerships with donors to support the mandatory requirements of the FAL Convention which will enter into force on 1 January 2024.
This requires public authorities to establish a Maritime Single Window with provisions of electronic information exchange such that all information is submitted once and reused to the maximum extent possible.
The IMO team visited Lobito Port and the Port of Luanda in order to better understand the work on the ground.
Whilst there, the IMO team and Rosa Sobrinho, CEO of National Maritime Authority (AMN), met and briefed Ricardo Viegas D’Abreu, the Minister of Transport of Angola, on the outcome of the mission.
AMN, the agency of the Ministry of Transport which is responsible for Lobito Port, has now confirmed it will be directly involved in the implementation of the SWiFT project.
The IMO informed the Minister that it will discuss with Singapore the need to link the SWiFT project to the Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) to assist in the efficient handling of all aspects of cargo and customs in the port.
The ASYCUDA is a computerised customs management system that oversees multiple foreign trade procedures.
Singapore will conduct further training on the operations of the SWiFT Project in Lobito Port before hand-over in July.