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IMO-Singapore Project to Implement Digital Ship Clearance System in the Port of Lobito, Angola

Image sources: imo.org

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and Singapore have selected the Port of Lobito (Angola) for a pilot project to establish an efficient digitalised system for the electronic exchange of information in ports for ship clearance.

The Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) Project was launched in March 2021 with a call for expressions of interest to participate. Following overwhelming response received from applicants, the project will begin its pilot phase with the Port of Lobito, before being scaled up to benefit more countries in the next phase.

Regulations in IMO’s Facilitation Convention require electronic exchange of data, to ensure the efficient clearance of ships. The single window concept is recommended, in order to avoid duplication of effort.  Individual data elements should only be submitted once, electronically through a single point of entry, to the relevant regulatory agencies and other parties.  The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the value of digitalisation. Electronic exchange of required data is speedier, more reliable, efficient and COVID-secure since face-to-face contact is minimised.

Having implemented our national MSW digitalPORT@SG™ successfully, Singapore stands ready to share its expertise and partner IMO Member States such as Angola on their digitalisation journey towards the future of shipping. On top of supporting Angola, the pilot will serve as a model for IMO to match donors with the Member States for such future partnerships. We look forward to playing our part to make IMO’s digitalisation agenda an inclusive one.”

– Tan Suan Jow, Dean of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore Academy

Under the pilot project, the selected country will be advised on the necessary legal, policy and institutional requirements for the MSW system. The port will then be provided with functional MSW software, hardware and/or IT services, configured to the country’s needs. Training will also be provided, as well as advice on policy reforms required to successfully implement an MSW.

Increased digitalisation supports greater efficiency which benefits the ship, the port and wider supply chain. We want to support countries that may be having difficulties in implementing the FAL Convention requirements for electronic data exchange, by supporting a pilot project which will show the way and result in know-how that can then be shared with others.

– Julian Abril, Head of IMO’s Facilitation Section

Following implementation in the pilot port, the IMO-Singapore project endeavours to springboard countries in their digitalisation journey and unlock the full potential of their maritime sectors. When most ports undergo digital transformation, the full benefits of digitalisation can be realised by the maritime community,”

With support from IMO’s Department of Partnership and Projects, Singapore envisages an increasing number of discussions with external partners and resource mobilisation efforts to support an ambitious scaling-up plan for this pilot initiative.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, MPA aims to develop Singapore as a premier global hub port and international maritime centre and to advance and safeguard Singapore’s strategic maritime interests. MPA partners with the industry and other agencies to enhance safety, security and environmental protection in our port waters, facilitate port operations and growth, expand the cluster of maritime ancillary services, and promote maritime R&D and manpower development.

Hence, MPA partnered with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) to launch The NextGEN (Green and Efficient Navigation) portal, an online collaborative global ecosystem of maritime transport decarbonisation initiatives. The online portal aims to encourage information-sharing, create critical networks and opportunities for collaboration, and facilitate capacity-building.

The platform facilitates information sharing on decarbonisation initiatives across stakeholders in the maritime value chain. It also identifies opportunities and gaps for decarbonisation in the global shipping community. Overall, the online portal will serve as a focal point and reference tool for both public and private stakeholders by showcasing the universe of maritime decarbonisation projects on a single platform.

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