The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has adopted the mandatory requirements for the electronic exchange of information on cargo, crew and passengers as part of a revised and modernized annex to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL).
“The update is aimed at ensuring the FAL treaty adequately addresses the shipping industry’s present and emerging needs and serves to facilitate and expedite international maritime traffic. The objective is to prevent unnecessary delays to ships and to persons and property on board,” IMO said.
The new recommended practice encourages the use of the “single window” concept, to enable all the information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay and departure of ships, persons and cargo, to be submitted via a single portal without duplication.
The new standard relating to the obligation of public authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information, within a period of three years after the adoption of the amendments, is among important changes in the revised annex, which is expected to enter into force on January 1, 2018, under the tacit acceptance procedure.
“There will be a transitional period of 12 months from the date of the introduction of such systems to make electronic transmission mandatory, during which period paper and electronic documents would be allowed,” IMO said.
First adopted in 1965, the FAL treaty, aims at securing the highest practicable degree of uniformity for ship arrival, stay and departure from port, as well as for crew, passengers, baggage and cargo.