Streamlining the many administrative procedures necessary when ships enter or leave port is an important element of International Maritime Organization (IMO)'s work.
And now, an important tool used by software developers to create systems for exchanging the relevant data electronically has been made available by the Organization online and free of charge.
The IMO Compendium is a reference manual containing data sets and the structure and relationships between them, that will enable the IMO Member States to fulfill a mandatory obligation (in place since April 2019) for the reporting formalities for ships, cargo and people on board international shipping to be carried out electronically and in a harmonized way.
Overall this helps make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient, for the more than 10 billion tons of goods which are traded by sea annually across the globe.
IMO is not the only organization dealing with electronic data exchange in maritime transport. But others, notably the World Customs Organization, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the International Standards Organization, have aligned their own data structures with the IMO Compendium to promote harmonization.