IMO Expert Lectures on Maritime Single Window and FAL

As part of the Introduction to Roles and Obligations of Maritime Administrations course, on 16 February WMU students in the Maritime Law & Policy (MLP) specialization had the opportunity to interact with Mr Julian Abril Garcia, Head of the Facilitation Section, Maritime Safety Division at the International Maritime Organization (IMO). 

Mr Abril Garcia delivered an online lecture on Maritime Single Window and FAL, which is a shortened name for the Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic, one of IMO’s earliest technical instruments regarding shipping, adopted in 1965. The Convention's main objectives are to prevent unnecessary delays in maritime traffic, to aid cooperation between Governments, and to secure the highest practicable degree of uniformity in formalities and other procedures. The FAL Convention was amended in recent years to make it mandatory for ships and ports to exchange data electronically. The FAL Convention also encourages use of the so-called “Maritime Single Window” concept in which all agencies and authorities involved exchange data via a single point of contact.

The lecture consisted of a broad and insightful description of IMO’s wide-ranging work within the framework of its Facilitation Committee, which was formed as a permanent body in support of the implementation of the Convention. WMU students took an active part in the lecture through questions and discussion. In the student feedback on the lecture, one of the main takeaways was how IMO and its member States are working through the FAL Committee to harmonize port procedures with a view toward interoperability and effective trade facilitation.

Mr Abril Garcia joined the IMO in August 2011, and is the secretary of IMO’s Facilitation Committee . He has participated in numerous regional and national technical cooperation activities aimed to promote the ratification of the FAL Convention, as well as to improve its effective implementation. He is part of the IMO team working to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on maritime transport, in close contact with UN agencies and maritime industry.

The Malmö MSc in Maritime Affairs is a 14-month programme with seven specializations: Maritime Education & Training; Maritime Energy Management; Maritime Law & Policy; Maritime Safety & Environmental Administration; Ocean Sustainability, Governance and Management; Port Management, and Shipping Management & Logistics. Foundation studies are taught in the first term and cover the introductory knowledge that is fundamental to all activities in the maritime field. Three successive terms focus on specialization studies and a dissertation. WMU has more than 150 Visiting Lecturers from around the world who contribute their expertise to enrich the education of WMU students.

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