Six partners sign MOU to drive maritime interoperability

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with five international partners to develop and adopt common data standards and application programming interface (API) specifications, which will facilitate data exchange for port and maritime services transactions.


These partners are CargoSmart — a solution provider for the Global Shipping Business Network, GTD Solutions — representing TradeLens, GeTS and PSA International — jointly representing CALISTA, and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

Image Courtesy: MPA/Facebook

MPA’s Chairman, Niam Chiang Meng and the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Secretary-General, Kitack Lim, witnessed the signing on 28 July.

The MoU was signed at the Maritime Perspectives Series Prologue: Digital Connectivity & Data Standards, the first webinar organised by MPA under the Maritime Perspectives series. The series, comprising four webinars to be conducted from 28 July to 8 October 2020, will bring together experts and industry leaders to share insights on digitalisation, decarbonisation and trade in the new normal post COVID-19.

As explained, the MoU to drive interoperability is timely as port authorities have developed or are developing maritime single windows to implement IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic to facilitate the electronic exchange of information for port clearance. This collaboration will also support MPA’s digitalOCEANS initiative, where individual data platforms of port authorities, port operators, shipping lines, logistics companies and platform providers can exchange data and interoperate through a common set of APIs.

MPA and its partners will also hold a series of technical workshops to design, test and publish the API specifications.

“The maritime sector is a global business. Different players in the maritime ecosystem are pursuing digitalisation at varying paces. To truly reap the benefits of effective information exchange, we need to move beyond digitising single nodes in the maritime supply chain,” Niam said.

“MPA and our partners have taken the first step with this MoU. We hope that more will join us in linking up ships, port authorities and platform providers into a seamless digitalOCEANS to facilitate port-to-ship connectivity and efficient trade transactions across the globe.”

“COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains on a scale never seen before. As the backbone of global trade, the maritime sector has to evolve to meet the challenges of a new normal economy. Digitalisation, decarbonisation and adaptation to new global trade order are issues that have to be addressed by the industry,” Niam pointed out.

“We hope the Maritime Perspectives series will be a useful platform to gather insights on these issues, exchange ideas and pave the way for collaborative solutions.”

Areas of cooperation

The six maritime players that signed the Mou agreed to cooperate in the following areas:

  • Generate awareness in the maritime industry about the importance of common data standards and common API specifications across international maritime jurisdictions and platforms;
  • Sharing of information and best practices in the maritime industry pertaining to the harmonisation of data standards across international maritime jurisdictions and platforms;
  • Development of common data standards and common API specifications to facilitate data exchange for business activities and transactions;
  • Adoption of common data standards and API specifications to facilitate data exchange for business activities and transactions;
  • Adoption of open data sharing by Parties with existing and/or future relevant platforms and databases for efficient flow of information across global maritime transport chains;
  • Provision of resources, support, capabilities, expertise and setting up of jointentities, whenever applicable, to encourage research and development, test-bedding and adoption of solutions and technologies to facilitate wider adoption of the common API specifications in the maritime industry.