The announcement by IALA ( International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities) and the STM Validation project that IALA has accepted to work on a port call messaging format is a significant step in enhancing industry performance, writes the authors of the ninth Concept Note from STM and published here at Fathom World.
Over recent years a lot of work has been undertaken to evolve port to port, port to ship and ship to ship messaging. The STM Validation project, a development of the EU funded Mona Lisa project has already made significant steps in demonstrating how ship to ship messaging can be improved with standard ECDIS tools.
The STM Validation project offshoot, Port Collaborative Decision Making has been working with a number of ports and taken the process into a more international sphere, a key requirement in the success of any standards in the global sipping industry.
The proposed port call messaging format being developed in IALA has, say the authors of the 9th concept note, different application areas as it creates standard time stamps that different actors can generate, or use, to improve and synchronise their operations.
So tugs, pilots, the vessel management, terminal management, VTM, customs, bunkering company, and any other organisation with a need to be part of the network can input, and access informality to understand first when other actors are going to be involved in the vessel’s port call, but can instantly advise when they will do so.
This messaging format, say the authors, is a huge step in the creation in port call transparency. They also point to recent work by the UKHO and IHMA (International Harbour Masters Association) that underscore the relevance of these developments. They also highlight efforts to align these proposed standars with other existing standards relates to port activities, logistics and other data streams related to goods traffic.