8 countries join forces in developing autonomous shipping

Representatives from China, Denmark, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Republic of Korea, and Singapore have launched a network to address the challenges and align standards for the trials and operation of Maritime Autonomous Surface Ships (MASS) in ports.

MASSPorts aims to develop detailed guidelines and conditions for MASS trials in port, which are in line with IMO’s interim guidelines for MASS trials.

The parties also agreed to establish common terminology, form and standards of communication, ship reporting, and data exchange to enhance inter-operability of systems across different ports in order to ensure seamless operation.

The objective of the network is also to facilitate MASS trials to emulate the international nature of shipping and validate the proposed guidelines and conditions for MASS trials, and the inter-operability of port-based systems. This allows the network to identify and address additional challenges of operating MASS at various ports.

“Autonomous navigation is an important part of our plans to be a future-ready port. We see MASS having the potential to enhance navigational safety and increase productivity. We are glad to work with like-minded international partners who are aligned in shaping the future of the international shipping,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said.

The event was joined by representatives from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA), as well as International Association of Ports and Harbors (IAPH).