MARITIME single windows will be mandatory for ports around the world from 1 January 2024, the International Maritime Organization has confirmed.

The IMO announced in May last year it would mandate the single window system. It has now set the date for the change.

Once the change comes into force, ports will be required to use maritime single windows for the electronic exchange of information required as ships arrive, stay and depart.

The mandatory change follows the IMO Facilitation Committee’s adoption of amendments to the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention).

The IMO hosted a symposium on 18 and 19 January for experts from shipping and ports sectors to discuss ways to implement maritime single windows.

IMO organised the event alongside the International Association of Ports and Harbors and BIMCO, with support from the International Port Community Systems Association.

Participants explored how maritime single windows fit with national digitalisation strategies and how they can be designed to fit with member states’ maritime trade objectives.

They also talked about applying industry standards to harmonise electronic data exchanges, port call data requirements and strategic partnerships.

IMO secretary general Kitack Lim said mandating maritime single windows is “a significant step towards accelerating digitalisation in the maritime trade” and “an opportunity for all stakeholders in shipping, and a necessary step forward”.

Mr Lim said mandating maritime single windows would also help digitalise and decarbonise international shipping.

He praised progress shipping and ports industries had made in recent years and pledged the IMO’s support to member states finding solutions to new obligations under the FAL convention.