09 November 12

The single window challenge for ports

The challenges of meeting the EU’s deadline for National Single Windows and the various ways in which ports currently organise ship reporting formalities has been analysed in a study carried out by partners in the EU Port Integration Project.

Under EU Directive 2010/65, all member states are obliged to implement electronic Single Window systems by June 2015, at which point they should cease to accept paper IMO Facilitation (FAL) forms.

Ports argue that the Single Window concept is of the utmost importance because at present, different authorities require different declarations from calling ships (for example in terms of maritime security, health & safety, the environment etc). It would mean that these declarations have to be coordinated with each other in the future.

The recent study considers the central role that Port Community Systems can and should play in making the Single Window concept a successful reality. It focused on the e-maritime systems of Hamburg, HaminaKotka, Talinn and Valencia and considers EU ports policy, technologies and issues of interoperability.

Michael Stange, representing the Port of Hamburg, Port Integration’s lead partner, said to Port Strategy: “One result of the study was, that all initiatives regarding the Single Window should strengthen and improve administrative procedures and the use of the data in an intelligent way to facilitate and to promote simplified and harmonised electronic ship reporting for the maritime sector.”

He added: “Furthermore, the involved authorities should also be legally obliged in the relevant regulations to share their data with other relevant authorities and the private sector to enable a smooth and fast flow of data and an efficient turnover of goods in the ports.”

But he pointed out that it will be a great challenge to achieve all these goals by 2015.

The results of the study were presented at a Port Integration workshop called Maritime Transport and Port Interfaces hosted by project partner, the Port of HaminaKotka.

The Port Integration Project is a three year €1.47m project which has 13 port and political partners from ten EU countries and Russia. Partners include Hamburg Port Authority, Valencia Port Authority and Marseille Fos.