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UN/CEFACT standards will support digitalization of maritime transport ‎

UN/CEFACT standards will support digitalization of maritime transport ‎

When ships enter and leave ports, vital information about cargoes, dangerous goods, crews, vessel details and many other things has to be exchanged with the authorities ashore. Under International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) so-called FAL Convention, public authorities are now required to set up systems so that all this happens digitally. 

A new partnership between IMO, the World Customs Organization, UNECE and the International Standards Organization has been signed to support this increased maritime digitalization.

The partnership agreement which has been effective since 15 March paves the way for updating the IMO Reference Data Model and for its further development towards harmonization of data standards in other areas, beyond the FAL Convention. This includes in particular just-in-time operation, which allows ships to optimize their speed so they arrive at their destination port when their berth is ready for them, thereby saving energy and cutting costs and emissions. 

For the user community, it is important that the electronic standards for the FAL Convention be aligned with their other business procedures, almost all of which are covered under the standards of the United Nation’s Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). This partnership will help ensure the alignment to current trading practices and the base semantic anchors defined within UN/CEFACT.

The Parties of this agreement have been already cooperating to develop the IMO Reference Data Model, which is a key element of the IMO Compendium on Facilitation and Electronic Business and covers the reporting requirements defined in the FAL Convention to support transmission, receipt, and response of information required for the arrival, stay, and departure of ships, persons, and cargo via electronic data exchange.  This work ensures interoperability between the respective standards of each organization. 

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 12 34


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