Maritime ‘Single Window’ System Established in Antigua and Barbuda

On 11 April 2019, the Maritime Single Window System developed by Norway was formally handed over to Antigua and Barbuda at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Headquarters in London, United Kingdom.

The International Maritime Organisation (IMO), with the aid of Norway, established a maritime “single window” in Antigua and Barbud and the source code for the system which will be made available to other countries.

A maritime single window enables all information required by public authorities in connection with the arrival, stay, and departure of ships, people and cargo, to be submitted electronically via a single portal, without duplication. The IMO’s Convention on the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL), which aims to reduce bureaucracy and make trade by sea more efficient, recommended that ports around the world implement the single window system.

As such, the new requirements, which came into effect on 8 April 2019, placed obligations on Member States to introduce a mechanism for electronic information exchange between ships and ports.

During the ceremony, IMO Secretary-General, Kitack Lim said, “I believe that this system will assist Member States, in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), in complying with the new requirements of the FAL Convention. I would like to commend Norway for the project and its generous offer of the source code developed for the system established in Antigua and Barbuda to [share with] other interested Member States.”

Secretary-General Lim also commended Norway for its dedication and generosity in support the project which lasted nineteen (19) months, and Antigua and Barbuda for its excellent collaborative work to make the project a success.

Also addressing the ceremony was Siv Christin Galaas, Speciality Director for Industry and Fisheries at Norway’s Ministry of Trade, who noted that “Norway will continue its dedication to ensuring that technology is used, not only to enhance ship safety but also to reduce administrative burdens both for ship masters and maritime administrations. The single window system should also facilitate efficiencies and cost reduction in ports”.

In response, High Commissioner, H.E. Karen-Mae Hill said, “For small, vulnerable countries with limited resources, such as ours, it is quality and efficiency of service that will keep our business doors open and attractive. This maritime single window system will make cross-border trade simpler. Antigua and Barbuda stands ready to offer guidance to other IMO Member States that want to adopt a similar system.”

The project to implement a maritime single window system in Antigua and Barbuda was launched in October 2017. Norway provided technical and financial support to Antigua and Barbuda while the IMO provided coordination between the two countries. In June 2018, the installation of the first, basic system platform took place followed by testing and implementation.

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