IMO and Singapore to offer pilot Single Window for Facilitation of Trade (SWiFT) Project to medium-sized port

IAPH supports this next step in capacity building following global port FAL survey and joint report with World Bank on accelerating digitalization in the maritime transport chain

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has issued a call for expressions of interest from countries with a medium-sized port to take part in a pilot project to establish an efficient digitalized system for electronic exchange of information in ports for ship clearance. The pilot will be supported by IMO member state Singapore via in-kind contributions by the IMO via its Integrated Technical Cooperation Programme (ITCP).

Under the pilot project, the selected country will be advised on the necessary legal, policy and institutional requirements for the Maritime Single Window (MSW )system. The port will then be provided with functional MSW software, hardware and/or IT services, configured to the country's needs. Training will also be provided.

IAPH Managing Director Dr. Patrick Verhoeven commented : “This excellent news means a kickstart to the third element of our joint industry call to action last June, namely to strive for the introduction of Port Community Systems and secure data exchange platforms in the main ports of all Member States represented in the International Maritime Organization.”

The first element of the same call to action – assessing the state of implementation of the IMO FAL requirement in ship-shore data exchange – was completed following an in-depth IAPH survey of over a hundred world ports. The survey revealed that a third of the respondents had electronic data exchange systems operation, with a third in design or development and another third yet to commence the digital journey. In collaboration with the World Bank, IAPH has developed a guidance for ports looking to accelerate digitalization in a joint paper that was published in January.

IAPH’s Technical Data Collaboration Committee (DCC) Chair Pascal Ollivier commented : “the second element of our industry call to action is an equally important factor. That is to ensure harmonisation of data standards through use of the supply chain standards of the International Standardization Organization, the standards of the International Hydrographic Organization as well as the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business.”

In this respect, the public and private sector has responded positively by accepting the recent invitation by IAPH and a number of other leading maritime NGOs to do just that. It puts forward the proposal to co-create a single- and neutral- supporting technical standard under ISO Technical Committee 8 for administrative and operational data, which has so far been accepted by numerous key industry players.

Singapore has successfully implemented its national Maritime Single Window digitalPORT@SG™. As per the recent IMO announcement, Singapore will bring in its experience to cater to the technical requirements for medium-size ports and for ports that would like to incorporate port to port communication protocols in such a system.

IMO has invited Member States with an identified medium-sized port to submit their expressions of interest by 30 April 2021, in order to participate in the SWiFT Project. Further information is contained in Circular Letter No.4391.

The implementation of specific activities of the Pilot Project is expected to commence by 15 June 2021.

News story contact :

Victor Shieh – IAPH Communications Director

Email :

Tel : + 32 473 980 855

About IAPH

Founded in 1955, the International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH) is a non-profit-making global alliance of 170 ports and 140 port-related organisations covering 90 countries. Its member ports handle more than 60 percent of global maritime trade and around 80 percent of world container traffic. IAPH has consultative NGO status with several United Nations agencies, including the IMO. Through its knowledge base and access to regulatory bodies, IAPH aims to facilitate energy transition, accelerate digitalisation and assist in improving overall resilience of its member ports in a constantly changing world. In 2018, IAPH established the World Ports Sustainability Program (WPSP). Guided by the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, it aims to unite sustainability efforts of ports worldwide by sharing best practices through its project portfolio and collaborative partnerships.