Data handshake breakthrough: public and private players accept maritime NGOs’ invitation to co-create global digital ISO standard for the exchange of administrative and operational data
The culmination of well over three years’ work by NGO’s and key maritime players in both private and private sectors received a major boost this week, with a key missing piece of the puzzle – application program interface standards which are compatible and interoperable – being agreed to in principle by the main global implementors of operational and administrative maritime data exchange systems.
This crucial development complements positive advances made in nautical and hydrographical data standards, and will aim to avoid ships having to exchange differently structured data sets with port communities and supply chain stakeholders around the world before, during and after their port call. Standardizing offers realistic aspirations for ships to optimize port calls, reducing emissions and berth waiting time.
The invitation, which was sent by NGO industry leaders Jeppe Skovbakke Juhl (BIMCO), Paul Goris (DryBulkTerminalsGroup), Jonathan Williams (FONASBA), Patrick Verhoeven (IAPH), Gregor Stevens (ICS), Paul Owen (IFSMA), Sabrina Delelis (IHMA), Richard Morton (IPCSA) and Ben van Scherpenzeel (ITPCO) puts forward the proposal to co-create a single- and neutral- supporting technical standard under ISO Technical Committee 8 for administrative and operational data. The aim is for this Committee is to continue the work on the alignment of ISO 28005 to the IMO Compendium, assuming responsibility for defining the information exchange needs and application program interfaces (API’s) between ship and shore.
ITPCO’s and IHMA’s Captain Ben Van Scherpenzeel commented on the invitation : “This approach ensures that the standard can be accepted and promoted by the IMO and the industry for implementation. It also facilitates sustainable and future-proof maintenance as well as other developments needed to foster data sharing in the maritime industry.”
First signatories already confirming their organization’s participation includes: Andrey Vorobiev (Chartworld), Henning Schleyerbach (DCSA), Jaco Voorspuij (GS1),Jan Hartwig, Gerald Hirt (Hamburg Vessel Coordination Center), Nabil Ouzir (IPCSA), Marcel Jumelet (Maersk), Argyris Stasinakis (MarineTraffic), Anders Wendel (Navelink), Robbert Engels (PortXchange), A Martinez (Prodevelop), Magnus Sundström (Sea Traffic Management/ Swedish Maritime Administration), Jose Maldonado (Fundación Valenciaport) and Dmitry Rostopshin (Wärtsilä).
The specification and standardization work will be done in an ISO working group with parallel updating of the IMO Reference Data Model. The draft standards will go through the normal ISO process with eventual approval by the member organizations to ISO TC8/SC11. All parties will be called to meet during the second quarter of 2021. Additional parties interested in becoming a co-signatory are asked to contact here.
Broad consensus on a way forward – IMO, World Bank, DCSA and IAPH endorse a standardised approach to data collaboration
At the recent IAPH-IHS Markit Webinar (recording available) on the future for ship-shore community data sharing, IMO Head of Facilitation Section of the Maritime Safety Division Julian Abril Garcia confirmed that by 2024- 2025 the 174 IMO member states will be required to use a single window system. According to the recent IAPH survey of 111 ports around the world on the existing requirement to adhere to the IMO FAL requirements on electronic data interchange (EDI), only approximately a third of the sample have operational systems, a third are developing them and a third have yet to commence. Abril Garcia cited the example of how IMO supported the implementation of an open source port community system in Antigua and Barbuda as a potential way forward to close the technological gap.
“The current situation creates the danger of a digital divide between Southern Hemisphere ports lagging permanently behind Northern Hemisphere smart ports”, according to IAPH Technical Chair on Data Collaboration Pascal Ollivier. Ollivier highlighted the leadership taken by governments of Peru and Panama in setting out a legal framework for multi-stakeholder collaboration to ensure maritime supply chain digitalization succeeds, following clear findings in the IAPH survey that this was the main barrier faced by ports together with skills development, not technology nor cost.
An incisive intervention by DCSA’s COO Henning Schleyerbach explained how their container shipping “coalition of the willing” is defining by process mapping how maritime parties need to interchange data, prioritise onboard cybersecurity and take up the “missed opportunity” to optimize port calls. He also advocated the standardization of data interchange given the challenge faced by the liner container shipowner members of DCSA such as MSC and Maersk regularly calling at between 300 -400 of the world’s ports.
Lead Transport Economist of the World Bank Martin Humphreys also vouched for his organization’s support towards client countries to develop their digitalization path by means of harmonized maritime-related data and common agreed standards in cooperation with the IMO compendium, ISO, IAPH and other public-private partnerships. He also alluded to the possibility of pilot projects based on open source systems, combined with capacity building and potential grants to facilitate upstream support and potential financial support for implementation.
The recently published joint World Bank – IAPH paper “Accelerating Digitalization – critical actions to strengthen the resilience of the maritime sector” outlines a clear roadmap for ports at the beginning of the journey in terms of immediately addressing urgent COVID19 health- related data exchange processes between ship and shore, through FAL requirement adoption of EDI right through to a fully-functioning maritime single window and a cyber-secure, inclusive port community system with the potential for becoming a smart port of the future.
IAPH Managing Director Patrick Verhoeven concluded : the progress made on digitalization in the last nine months has been significant. Since our industry call to action last June to accelerate the pace of digitalization to cope with a post-COVID19 “new normal”, key players have responded from industry associations, public and private sectors alike as well as ports and shipowners. We have gained momentum and will not stop here.”