MPA spearheads agreement on common international data exchange standards

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five international partners to develop and adopt common data standards and Application Programming Interface (API) specifications, to be used for data exchange within port and maritime services transactions.

The partners include CargoSmart (technology provider for the Global Shipping Business Network), GTD Solutions (representing TradeLens), GeTS and PSA International (jointly representing CALISTA), and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

The signing was witnessed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO)’s Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, who welcomed the move as complementary to the Organization’s own harmonisation efforts, such as the FAL Convention requirement for ships and ports to exchange arrival and departure data electronically.

“The start of this industry collaboration we are witnessing today is aligned with IMO’s efforts to enable interoperability across maritime platforms. After the signing, I hope that the parties can help support the industry in harmonising standards to make the clearance process for ships faster, more reliable, and more efficient,” Mr Lim said.

“Capitalising on technological advances will be a simple and effective way to make shipping – and the whole supply chain – much more efficient for the more than 11 billion tons of goods that are traded annually by sea across the globe.”

This new collaboration agreement will drive greater interoperability for FAL-compliant data exchange between international port systems, building on Singapore’s digitalOCEANS initiative. digitalOCEANS allows individual data platforms controlled by port authorities, port operators, shipping lines, logistics companies and platform providers to interoperate through a common set of APIs.

“The maritime sector is a global business. Different players in the maritime ecosystem are pursuing digitalisation at varying paces. To truly reap the benefits of effective information exchange, we need to move beyond digitising single nodes in the maritime supply chain,” said MPA Chairman, Niam Chiang Meng.

“MPA and our partners have taken the first step with this MoU. We hope that more will join us in linking up ships, port authorities and platform providers into a seamless digitalOCEANS to facilitate port-to-ship connectivity and efficient trade transactions across the globe.”

“COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains on a scale never seen before. As the backbone of global trade, the maritime sector has to evolve to meet the challenges of a new normal economy. Digitalisation, decarbonisation and adaptation to a new global trade order are issues that have to be addressed by the industry.”

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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