Editorial: Single window requirement improves maritime efficiency


In order to facilitate vessel clearance at the country’s ports, the maritime single window programme is to be rolled out soon.

The digital platform will incorporate the activities of shipping lines and regulatory agencies and enable them share information so far as the clearance of vessels at the port is concerned.

It is in line with the International Maritime Organisation’s Annex to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention which makes the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world.

Therefore. in line with the planned roll-out in April, the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority has led a series of engagements for the parties involved to help them understand how the platform works.

They include shipping agents, Customs, Port Health, Ghana Maritime Authority, Ghana Immigration Service, Narcotics Control Commission, among others.

Service offerings of this platform are distinct from the Integrated Customs Management System used for cargo clearance. Maritime single window really is about vessel clearance.

In trade facilitation, the turnaround time of vessels is crucial.

In 2022, the IMO’s Facilitation Committee adopted amendments to the Annex to the Facilitation (FAL) Convention, which would make the single window for data exchange mandatory in ports around the world, marking a significant step in the acceleration of digitalisation in shipping.

From January 1, 2024, ports and authorities around the world must follow new requirements from the IMO to use the “single Window” platform to exchange data electronically. The single window requirement is an important step toward a more digital and efficient maritime industry.

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

The idea of electronic data transmission via a single-entry point is to avoid duplication; thus, maximising the efficiency of maritime and port administrative procedures.

Ghana’s maritime sector is the main gateway for international trade, accounting for over 99 percent of the country’s international trade with overwhelming effect and potential for boosting GDP growth.

It is, therefore, proper that the country’s ports meet all international standards, particularly IMO sanctioned conventions.

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