Singapore inks global pacts to develop maritime data APIs

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore signs MOUs with five global organisations to develop and adopt data standards and APIs, which it hopes will drive data exchange for service transactions in the sector.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has inked agreements with five global organisations to develop as well as adopt data standards and API (application programming interface) specifications. It hopes such efforts will support data exchange for service transactions in the sector. 

The Singapore agency signed MOUs (memorandum of understanding) with CargoSmart, a service provider for the Global Shipping Business Network; GTD Solutions, which supports the TradeLens platform; GeTS and PSA International, both of which support the CALISTA platform; and the Port of Rotterdam Authority.

The collaboration encompassed various focus areas including the development and adoption of common data standards and APIs to facilitate data exchange for business transactions and activities, as well as the exchange of information and best practices in the industry with the aim to align data standards across international maritime jurisdictions and platforms. 

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The partners also would aim to adopt open data sharing with existing and future platforms and databases to drive the "efficient flow of information" across global maritime transport chains. In addition, they would offer resources and expertise as well as jointly set up entities where necessary to facilitate research and development and test-bedding.

Their pledge to drive data interoperability was critical as port authorities worldwide developed or were developing single-window systems to implement International Maritime Organization's (IMO) Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, which facilitated the digital exchange of information for port clearance, said MPA. 

The Singapore agency added that collaboration would further support its "digitalOCEANS" initiative. This aimed to enable the respective data platforms of port authorities, port operators, shipping lines, logistics companies, and platform providers to exchange data and interoperate through a common set of APIs. 

Alongside the five partners, MPA would hold technical workshops to design, test, and publish the API specifications.

MPA Chairman Niam Chiang Meng said: "The maritime sector is a global business, [with] different players in the maritime ecosystem pursuing digitalisation at varying paces. To truly reap the benefits of effective information exchange, we need to move beyond digitising single nodes in the maritime supply chain.

"COVID-19 has exposed vulnerabilities in global supply chains on a scale never seen before. As the backbone of global trade, the maritime sector has to evolve to meet the challenges of a new normal economy," Niam said. "Digitalisation, decarbonisation, and adaptation to new global trade order are issues that have to be addressed by the industry."

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