27 Jun 1Jan 2024 – How can ports meet this Maritime Single Window deadline
It has been a year since the International Maritime Organization (IMO) announced the FAL mandate to implement a Maritime Single Window (MSW) at ports globally. However, the Maritime world has yet to seriously note the mandate and rapidly implement a single window system.
According to an industry report, less than 30 per cent of Ports worldwide have made efforts to implement a single window system as per the guidelines of IMO. Most Ports are battling where to start with, as close to 40% of the ports still need clarity on this mandate, though IMO and its affiliated bodies like IAPH, IPCSA, and BIMCO are making significant efforts to sensitise the Port and its authorities.
6 Months to go
In May 2022, the International Maritime Organization announced a mandate aimed at helping the Maritime industry deal with future unprecedented situations, such as a pandemic. However, the impact of this mandate was minimal and did not extend to ports worldwide.
After careful analysis, it is evident that the reluctance of Ports to implement this is mainly due to the considerable costs associated with infrastructure and the potential risk of cyber-attacks. Nevertheless, it is imperative that industry players become more informed about the substantial benefits that both the industry and the Port can attain.
In January 2023, IMO introduced an acceleration programme to fast-track the implementation cycle in some countries. With that, Asia Pacific and African countries came forward with a promise of going live before the end of 2023. Yet, it seems to be a distant dream, as the average implementation cycle would vary by around 6-8 months.
While these countries have already implemented certain modules, completing the rest before the stipulated timeline is still possible. But for others, beginning now or later, achieving these timelines is merely possible. Hence, by the end of the deadline, i.e., January 01, 2024, less than 20 per cent of the Ports worldwide might have fulfilled the FAL mandate requirements.
Certain Ports are working on fragmented or legacy systems, and the rest are still following a manual process across operations. Industry stalwarts believe not adhering to a mandate will possibly not invite a penalty but, in due course, will ensure the Port ecosystem might become irrelevant in a fast-transforming world. Therefore, to ensure business continuity and stay relevant for long, it is essential for all Ports to adhere to this mandate and achieve business synergies.