China and Singapore sign e-certificate agreement

The China Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Singapore covering the use and acceptance of Electronic Certificates, with the goal of improving digitalisation of trade documentation to simplify transport flows.

The deal was signed by Ms Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and Dr Cao Desheng, Director General of the MSA, at a China-Singapore Senior Officials’ Committee Meeting (SOCM) in Beijing.

Under the terms of the MOU, the maritime authorities of China and Singapore say they will cooperate in the issuance, use and acceptance of Electronic Certificates to facilitate port clearance and Port State Control inspections.

“International shipping plays an important role in global trade and economic development, and is responsible for more than 80 per cent of world trade, transporting goods and raw materials. The certificates of ships and its crew are key documents used in port clearance,” said MPA, in a statement.

“The use of electronic certificates will bring several benefits, from improving the efficiency of port clearance, reducing the administrative burden on shipping companies and ships, to allowing for effective enforcement by maritime and port authorities.”

The deal builds on a partnership established in a 2011 Maritime, Shipping and Port Cooperation MOU agreed by the two countries’ respective Ministries of Transport, and is seen as an additional support for the ‘21st Century Maritime Silk Road’ envisioned under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).