IMO-Singapore project to implement digital ship clearance system in the Port of Lobito, Angola, aims to support more ports in future
The International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Singapore have selected the Port of Lobito (Angola) for a pilot project to establish an efficient digitalized system for electronic exchange of information in ports for ship clearance.
The Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) Project will develop a one-stop system that enables the electronic submission of information required by various Government agencies when ships call at the pilot port. This concept is known as the Maritime Single Window (MSW), which allows required data elements to be electronically submitted only once, through a single portal, to regulatory agencies and other parties in a fast, reliable, efficient and COVID-secure way.
The SWiFT Project was launched in March 2021 with a call for expressions of interest to participate. Following an overwhelming response from applicants, the Project will commence its pilot phase in the Port of Lobito on 15 November 2021.
The pilot will be supported by Singapore via in-kind contributions and by IMO via the Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme.
Under the pilot project, the selected country will be advised on the legal, policy and institutional requirements to implement an MSW system. The port will be provided with a functional MSW software and IT services configured to the country’s needs and the technical requirements of its port. Training, alongside advice on policy reforms required to successfully implement an MSW, will also be offered.
“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 digitalization journey towards the future of shipping,” said Mr Tan Suan Jow, Dean of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Academy. “On top of supporting Angola, the pilot will serve as a model for IMO to match donors with Member States for such future partnerships. We look forward to playing our part to make IMO’s digitalization agenda an inclusive one,” added Mr Tan.
“Increased digitalization supports greater efficiency which benefits the ship, the port and wider supply chain,” said Julian Abril, Head of IMO’s Facilitation Section. “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 which can then be shared with others.”
“Following implementation in the pilot port, the IMO-Singapore project endeavours to springboard countries in their digitalization journey and unlock the full potential of their maritime sectors. It is only when most, if not all, ports undergo digital transformation, that the full benefits of digitalization can be realized by the maritime community,” Mr. Abril said. “With support from IMO’s Department of Partnership and Projects, we envisage an increasing number of discussions with external partners and resource mobilisation efforts to support an ambitious scaling-up plan for this pilot initiative.”
The implementation of MSW supports the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9, which seeks to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation.
The IMO-Singapore SWiFT Project builds upon a successful project previously that delivered an MSW system in Antigua and Barbuda with in-kind and financial support from Norway.