Combating illicit trade with Maritime Single Window

Combating illicit trade with Maritime Single Window


Illicit trade accounts for US$2.2 trillion, which is 3 per cent of the global economy, according to World Economic Forum. Ironically, despite having strict global regulations and frameworks for export import operations, illicit trade thrives and maritime trade is the first victim. In order to combat this long sustaining activities, a one stop solution is needed so that the actual synergies of trade can be achieved. Therefore, Customs authorities are always on the look out to thwart trafficking of illegal goods through legitimate supply chain. This is due to the blind spots set by organised crime groups to move their illegal cargo. International Maritime Organization (IMO) on May 2022 announced fresh amendments to the existing FAL convention, which strictly mandates combatting illicit trade.


What the mandate emphasises on illicit trade?

IMO, in its mandatory FAL Convention to digitise Ports through Maritime Single Window, addresses this challenge with Digitisation. Why? Because technology sets governance frameworks to counter illicit trade and risk deterrence. Especially with a future proof technology like Blockchain and AI/ML, the entire ecosystem is prone to 100 per cent transparency.


Role of Maritime Single Window in combating illicit trade

Use of Single Window platform pro-actively identifies emerging threats with pre-arrival shipment information. MSW connects all inter-agencies like Customs, Immigration, Port Health, and other border security forces to share information prior to arrival-stay-departure of vessels and their cargo so that information discrepancy is null. Moreover, it also prevents the users from tampering any data / document submitted thereby preventing malpractices in the trade.

Does Maritime Single Window address cyber threats?

The maritime world has always raised concerns over the vulnerabilities of a single window or a Port Community System. Some industry experts say that having a common platform is smart, but in terms of security it is more convenient for hackers as the entire export import data from one particular Port is stolen. However, the new age Single Window and community platforms come with added security features that ensures transparency in the entire operational flow.

Is Maritime Single Window the future of Maritime trade?

Industry experts consider implementation of Maritime Single Window as a step towards acceleration of digital trade facilitation in the maritime industry. They believe it will fast track digitisation measures in ports across the globe and bring order to a rather complex business ecosystem. Provided the maritime sector will gradually have to move towards 100 percent digitisation before the said date and working with a Maritime Single Window will be the new normal.