Maritime Single
Window 2024

By 1st January 2024, the single window for data exchange is to become mandatory in ports around the world, marking a significant step in the acceleration of digitalization in shipping.

For all IMO member states, public authorities will need to establish, maintain, and use single window systems for the electronic exchange of information required on arrival, stay and departure of ships in ports.

In addition, public authorities will have to collaborate and combine the electronic transmission of the data to ensure that information is submitted or provided only once and reused to the maximum extent possible.

IAPH has partnered up with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and BIMCO to help governments, ports, ship owners and operators and other public and private stakeholders to understand what this means, the benefits it has to offer and how to approach and implement a maritime single window.


What is a Maritime Single Window and why will this requirement by 1st January 2024 create a “WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES”?

A Maritime Single Window (MSW) is ….

a public-private data collaboration platform…

What does an MSW do?

It enables an orchestration and optimization of business processes between organizations involved in the arrival, stay and departure of ships in ports…

How does an MSW do that?

It achieves this through a single, “one truth” submission of standardized and harmonized data.


The IMO has prepared a short animation explaining why digitalization is key to facilitating international maritime traffic, and why everyone can benefit from communicating electronically between ship and shore.


What kind of window of opportunities can an MSW create?

If implemented well, a Maritime Single Window can:

  • Reduce vessel time at anchor and at berth, minimising emissions
  • Reduce the vessel clearance process, speeding up departure
  • Improve safety of a call thanks to data certainty and availability
  • Reduce human ship-to- shore interaction – better health and safety
  • Lead to greater efficiency by allowing authorities and companies serving the vessel to synchronize their activities in tandem with vessel arrival and departure time
  • Increase supply chain predictability thanks to advance vessel and cargo information, optimising processes, and risk management

For a summary on about Maritime Single Windows and why will this requirement by 1st January 2024 create a “WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES, download the presentation by IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven here.

In addition, for a fuller explanation of the benefits of a Maritime Single Window, have a look at the joint “WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES” webinar organised by IAPH, IMO and BIMCO last October when Patrick made this presentation in person:


What guidance has been communicated by the IMO on the Maritime Single Window and what is meant by the FAL compendium?

What is FAL and why is it important?

When a ship comes in to port it may be the end of a voyage but it’s just the beginning of a whole range of administrative tasks that need to be done.

This includes but is not limited to: customs declarations for cargo and ships’ stores; immigration clearance for crew and passengers and their baggage; import and export permits. In fact, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

And when the ship leaves, it’s the same process all over again.

This is what is called the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic – or FAL for convenience.

For international shipping, a unified, global approach to FAL is vital. These activities are regulated and streamlined by an international treaty called the FAL Convention.This treaty is continually amended and updated by Governments at the FAL Committee of IMO, which meets once per year.

Which are the principal FAL documents containing the basic information that needs to be exchanged electronically?

The main documents with the data which needs to be exchanged electronically between ship and shore are as follows:

For declarations that may be required in paper form by the public authorities in exceptional circumstances, check APPENDIX 2 on this same PDF.

There are other forms with data which should be included for consideration. For more information, contact the IMO Trade Facilitation team.

What is the IMO Compendium and how is it related to a Maritime Single Window?

As of 1st January 2024, public authorities will be required to provide all information required to a “single window” by electronic means. This applies to all the information needed to fulfil the standard regulatory requirements – the cargo declaration, dangerous goods declaration, crew manifests, vessel details and so on.

The IMO trade facilitation team has developed the IMO Compendium, a technical reference manual for software developers within the relevant public authorities. The IMO Compendium harmonizes the data elements requested by the various public authorities and standardizes the many different electronic messages that need to be exchanged, which is the key to data quality and good data orchestration between all parties.

What guidance has the IMO provided for implementing a Maritime Single Window?

The IMO has created some guidelines for public authorities and port authorities, defining, on a highly detailed document, how to set up a Maritime Single Window using the IMO compendium.
You can download this important reference document here. A lot of the contents of this document were explained at the IMO – IAPH BIMCO hybrid symposium.

What useful links can you offer for more detailed information on FAL, the IMO Compendium and the work of the IMO FAL Committee?

You can find all relevant information on this very useful IMO portal:


What support can I get as a national government, port administration or public port authority in implementing a maritime single window? What is the “Window of Opportunities” Symposium being organised by IAPH with IMO and BIMCO?

IAPH partnered up with IMO and BIMCO and organised a hybrid symposium to support member state governments, port authorities and administrations, shipowners and other stakeholders in implementing a maritime single window in the countries on 18th and 19th January 2023. It included explanations on the January 1st 2024 requirement, a high level overview of benefits, and more detailed technical sessions to assist implementation, including practical case examples from small and large countries who have implemented a Maritime Single Window in their country.

The full recording of the event will made available soon on the IMO Resources and Webinars You Tube Channel.


An event portal for the symposium has been set up on the IMO website which includes the summary of the presentation on port call data quality and requirements. To visit that portal you can click here.


We will endeavour to answer any queries you have about the Maritime Single Window 2024 – WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITIES initiative.

For your enquiries, please kindly email