FEPORT Position – Digitalisation in the Maritime Sector

European Union, IT and Communications, News, Organisations, Ports & Terminals — By on June 13, 2018 at 8:22 AM

Lamia Kerdjoudj-Belkaid

Brussels, June 13th, 2018 – Ahead of the European Parliament public hearing on “Digitalisation in Transport” scheduled for 20 June, and in follow  up as  to FEPORT’s priorities for digitalisation  as communicated prior to the commencement of the Estonian Presidency of the European Union, FEPORT would like to take this opportunity to reiterate its views on how digitalisation can contribute to an efficient, sustainable and resilient logistics sector.

Firstly, FEPORT welcomes the scheduled public hearing as dialogue between actors, both within industry and institutions, is an essential prerequisite to innovating the European logistics chain in a sustainable manner.

Digitalisation should not be viewed as an end in itself, but rather a means to an end, namely greater efficiency and reliability. This should be achieved via enhancing the seamless flow of data across the supply chain and between actors. The objective should therefore be to discuss how can digitalisation be best utilized to improve logistics operations. This is extremely important from a regulatory perspective, given that regulation has the potential to create an environment of increased innovation, and subsequently digitalisation, or overly burdensome requirement, and subsequently a lack of real innovation and efficiency gains.

Interoperability and Open Standards

First and foremost, from our industry perspective, we consider that efforts should be concentrated to facilitate interoperability in the supply chain. Ultimately, this can only be achieved through widespread use of open standards in logistics. Open Standards are a format that allows for the free, widespread sharing of data, prevents lock-in and other artificial barriers to interoperability and are free of any extensions that may hamper interoperability.

With respect to B2G (Business to Government) or B2A (Business to Administration) communications, we would highly recommend that the European Union works towards ensuring that all relevant government or administration ICT systems are based upon open standards. This will lead to the various systems communicating within the supply chain to share information without hindrance. It will also remove technical barriers to the reporting once principle, as national systems will be able to re-use data between Member States.

Data Sets and Interfaces

There is an urgent need to recognize that harmonisation of data requirements at European level is a primary objective and that it should work on a maximum data set, given that minimum data sets, and subsequent requests for further data at local level, remove all advantages and benefits of harmonisation. The actual system data is being submitted to is secondary.

The Commission’s proposal for the creation of a European Maritime Single Window Environment (Regulation 2018/0139) should be part of a larger vision for the entire logistics chain that allows for the re-use of data throughout the logistics chain. The proposal should focus on true data harmonization and allow for reporting interfaces to develop organically. The Commission proposal is a positive first step, but further work is required.

Harmonisation of reporting obligations, and the widespread use of open standards, will reduce reporting obligations and encourage the re-use of information along the logistics chain. This should be recognized as the appropriate mechanism by which to successfully utilize digitalisation in the transport sector.

Cybersecurity

A holistic approach is needed to issue’s related to cybersecurity. The reality is that the systems of actors along the logistics chain are very interconnected and interdependent. There is therefore a need to ensure that all access points are secure given that the integrity of information is only as secure as its weakest link.

FEPORT is the European association representing the interests of private port companies and terminals located out of the seaports of the European Union.

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