30% of global ports ‘unprepared’ for incoming IMO’s MSW, survey shows

Kale Logistics Solutions (Kale) has published a readiness survey of 200 ports that revealed 30 percent are not prepared to adopt the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Maritime Single Window (MSW) mandate, which becomes compulsory worldwide from January 2024.

Illustration only. Courtesy of Port of Hamburg

As explained, the aim of the study was to identify tangible benefits the maritime industry, specifically, the maritime authorities, ports shipping lines and other regulatory agencies can achieve with technology intervention. These benefits are quantified and qualified depending on individual processes as well as the overall functioning of the maritime ecosystem.

The study involved ports located throughout the Asia Pacific, Middle East, Europe, Africa, North America, and South America, and emphasized that Port Community Systems embedded with an MSW are integral to achieving the true potential of a port.

“The purpose of this study was to identify the tangible benefits the maritime industry can achieve with technology intervention, and the results showed potential savings of up to USD50 billion annually by using MSW platforms,” said Vineet Malhotra, Co-Founder and Director, Kale Logistics Solutions.

“However, these benefits are subject to 100 percent adoption of the MSW, and our report reveals that ports are encountering a number of barriers that hinder this digitalisation. The MSW concept has the potential to revolutionise the international shipping industry.”

MSW platforms bring major sustainability benefits by digitizing documentation, streamlining processes, and improving information exchange, resulting in reduced paper usage and more efficient vessel management, ultimately lowering emissions and environmental impact.

Kale highlighted the urgency for the industry to speed up its digital transformation as it unveiled the survey results, which also cited high implementation costs, long timelines, and varying levels of digital readiness as leading factors hindering regulatory compliance.

Out of the 2000 respondents, 30% cited the need for more awareness as the primary reason for non-compliance until now. 30-35% of ports in Africa and South America cited that they were unaware of a regulation passed by the IMO on the FAL Convention. On the other hand, 20-25 ports in the Middle East, the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe cited lack of awareness as the main reason for non-compliance, according to the study.

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Other reasons include the cost factor. Namely, the respondents believe deploying software involves significant investment and has little to zero effect on their current challenges.

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When asked about their readiness to implement MSW System, a significant number of the respondents said that they have a digital infrastructure at the process level but not at a port level. The digital readiness of these ports is less than the required level for MSW implementation, the report shows.

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Kale’s MSW platform is compliant with IMO standards and enables information and documentation to be transferred electronically between maritime and port stakeholders, which will become a compulsory requirement from the start of 2024.

On average 12 agencies collaborate on one ship-shore operation, and the MSW simplifies documentary procedures between all actors involved and ensures information only needs to be inputted once.

“The importance of this study will sow the seed for a digital revolution in the maritime industry worldwide, demonstrating how digitisation can not only bring order to the ongoing chaotic operations in the industry but also achieve significant sustainability goals in the long run,” added Malhotra.

The report was released by Shyam Jagannathan, Director General of Shipping, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India, at the Global Maritime India Summit in Mumbai, India.