Welcome to your
April 2020 Advisory

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Digitalisation and automation of international cross-border trade logistics and maritime operations have been hot topics for some time. The COVID-19 crisis has created a heightened sense of collective purpose to get on with the job much faster.

With more people working from home, possibly for a long time to come, and the need to safeguard all the frontline workers who cannot do so, we urgently need to accelerate digitalisation. More automation of trade and logistics processes, data and documents are vital to #KeepTradeFlowing with minimal direct physical human contact.

Here at Maritime Street, we closely follow support and enable the growth of digital and automated solutions for world trade. We work with governments, public authorities and agencies, multilateral, NGOs, regulators, MNCs, start-ups, scale-ups and investors on issues including smart and sustainable port cities (#S2PC), port community system, maritime single window, cybersecurity, trade security, digitalisation of shipping and freight flows, tech innovation, digital disruption and transformation.

We know the world is awash with news right now. But sorting through it all to pinpoint trusted and relevant sources of information is another matter entirely.

With that in mind, welcome to our first regular advisory with news, views and resources on the evolving world of digital trade logistics, finance and maritime operations.

We hope you will find it useful as we go together through these troubled times and plan for our post COVID19 future. We will be developing the content as we go, so let us know what you’d like to hear more (or less) about. And if you like what you read, sign up for more.

Pascal Ollivier
President, Maritime Street

Email: pascal.ollivier@maritime.fr

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Communicate, coordinate, cooperate
- WCO and IMO

The World Customs Organization and International Maritime Organization released a joint statement on the integrity of the global supply chain during the global pandemic. In it, they urged Customs administrations, Port State Authorities and other agencies to proactively work together on the cross-border movement not only of relief goods but also goods in general, to help minimize the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and societies today and for the future.

The article contains handy links to WCO and IMO existing (and new) instruments, tools and recommendations to promote supply chain integrity and trade facilitation while protecting people.​

Dematerialising documents – UNECE and UN/CEFACT

How can we reconcile reducing physical interactions to limit virus transmission with the need to keep supply chains operating efficiently? UNECE, the UN Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and its United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) recently reminded us of its long-standing role in bringing the public and private sectors together to create tools, standards and recommendations to ‘dematerialise documents’ and reduce human-to-human contact. That includes port community systems, single trade windows, smart containers and the UN/EDIFACT standard that remains a cornerstone for electronic data exchange in international supply chains, logistics and transport. 

In time, EDI will be supplanted due to advances in digital technology. But, for now it remains a vital part of the virtual picture, with around 1 billion messages exchanged per year covering an estimated 75% of sea freight worldwide.

Shaping the Future of Digital Trade Logistics
through global strategic advisory services and expertise

Digitalising the ship-shore interface – IMO rules now in full force

Last June, we reported that IMO was making electronic data exchange mandatory for administrative documents required when ships enter and exit ports. The new regulations under IMO’s FAL Convention are now in full force after the one year transition period and IMO has recently issued a guide to the new rules and how to meet them. For port and maritime authorities that haven’t yet implemented a maritime single window, IMO recommends to #ACTNOW.

Maritime Street was founded by Pascal Ollivier, a world-renowned port expert who has engaged in business development programmes in over 80 counties worldwide over the past 30 years. His world-class knowledge and experience has combined to create Maritime Street, delivering global strategic advisory services and expertise to accelerate the global adoption of digital trade logistics.

COVID-19 taskforce, guidance, information portal and barometer to help world ports - IAPH

Under the banner of its World Ports Sustainability Programme (WPSP), the International Association of Ports & Harbors (IAPH) has set up an information portal, taskforce and barometer to help port authorities and organisations around the globe deal with the challenge of COVID-19. Maritime Street is proud to be a member of the task force, which has recently issued a new guidance document on recommended immediate and longer-term responses. 

Based on data submitted by 90 ports, the 2nd weekly barometer report showed 35% of ports reporting an increase in the use of warehousing and distribution facilities for foodstuffs and medical supplies. You can read the full report here.

The 3rd weekly barometer issued last Friday reports how the gradual impact of blanked sailings by the world’s major container shipping alliances is beginning to be felt by ports. 

Recent intelligence from shipping analysts Alphaliner and Seaintel Maritime Analysis reveals that there have been 435 container vessel cancellations so far in 2020, taking 7 million TEU of cargo capacity out of the system.

IAPH is actively inviting more participants to join the programme – you can sign up and contact the Task Force experts by emailing to covid19@sustainableworldports.org 

10-point plan to bolster global transport and trade during COVID-19 - UNCTAD

Facilitating trade has become more important than ever to avoid logistical obstacles that lead to shortages of necessary supplies during COVID-19. At the same time, the trade foundations for recovery from the pandemic need to be laid today. A new document from UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development lays down 10 policy measures across maritime transport, customs operations, transit, transparency, legal issues and technology to enhance paperless trade processes.

UNCTAD is calling on governments to ensure health measures are implemented in ports and border crossings in ways that minimize interference with international traffic and trade and to recognize people involved in the movement of trucks, ships, planes and cargo as critical personnel.

The new policy document follows UNCTAD’s earlier publication of guidelines and recommendations for port operators and customs agencies during COVID-19.

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