The Single Window challenge for ports

Press release from ‘Port Integration: Multimodal Innovation for Sustainable Maritime & Hinterland Transport Structures’

October 2012

The challenges of meeting the European Union’s 2015 deadline for National Single Windows and the varying ways in which ports currently organize ship reporting formalities have been analysed in a unique study carried out by partners in the EU Port Integration project.

The findings of the study, which provides an overview of e-maritime initiatives in selected European ports, were presented at a Port Integration workshop on Maritime Transport and Port Interfaces’, hosted by the Port of HaminaKotka, a partner in the project.

The study focuses on the e-maritime systems of four Port Integration members – Hamburg, HaminaKotka, Tallinn and Valencia – and considers EU ports policy, existing experiences, common processes involved and related data exchange, common concepts and technologies, and the issues of interoperability.

Under EU Directive 2010/65, all member states are obliged to implement electronic Single Window systems by June 2015 – at which point, they should cease to accept paper FAL forms and accept only electronic reports. The study considers the central role that existing and new Port Community Systems can – and should – play in making the Single Window concept a successful reality.

Presenting the study, Carolina Navarro, R&D project manager of Valenciaport Foundation, outlined existing practices of Single Window, e-maritime and Port Community Systems.

Michael Stange, representing the City of Hamburg, Port Integration’s lead partner, said: “The study presents a comparison and overview of good practices in the four ports studied. From these experiences, we will draw up suggestions for a best practice guide for Port Community Systems.”

The Single Window concept was also discussed at the workshop by Antti Arkima, maritime transport systems expert for the Finnish Transport Agency. He explained the FTA-operated Portnet system, which handles maritime reporting formalities in Finnish ports.

Captain Markku Koskinen, director, traffic operations, discussed the role of HaminaKotka’s Port Data System (PDS), a port management system used by ten Finnish ports. PDS has been built with flexibility to allow ports to choose which ‘modules’ of the system they require for their operations.

“Many ports have their own specific solutions and developing a Single Window, through a PCS, requires a step-by-step approach, with ports moving forward in the order that suits them,” said Ulli Wolff, of Port Integration’s project management team, Uniconsult. “It is like building a mosaic, stone by stone, from all the different parts.

“However, the bottom line is that they must all implement a Single Window by 2015, probably with further development later.”

The Port Integration workshop also included a session on ‘Developing Maritime Safety and Holistic Risk Assessment in the Baltic Sea’. Presentations by Jenni Storgård, head of unit, University of Turku Centre for Maritime Studies, and Juha Heijari, executive manager, Kotka Maritime Research Centre, highlighted the risks presented to the fragile Baltic Sea from the very high volumes of oil and chemicals being shipped through the region, mainly to and from Russia.

Mr Heijari demonstrated the risks with a map of shipping activity in the Gulf of Finland, illustrating the high potential for collisions. He outlined KMRC’s work, including maritime safety and risk modelling, maritime logistics and environmental impacts and a wide range of research.


 In 2010, 290m tonnes of oil were transported in the Baltic Sea, with 55% of this moving via the Gulf of Finland, said Ms Storgård, who outlined the work of the Risks of Maritime Oil Transportation (MIMIC) project.

The Port of HaminaKotka was created by the successful merger of neighbouring ports Hamina and Kotka in 2011. The limited company, owned by both cities, has its management headquarters in Kotka and its technical department in Hamina.

John Winn, Port Integration deputy communications manager and representing project partner the Haven Gateway, said: “The Port of HaminaKotka clearly illustrates two Finnish virtues – professionalism and practicality. The port’s achievements set a very high standard both nationally and internationally in IT, health & safety and the green agenda, in addition – of course – to sound business practice.”


Notes to editors:

Port Integration is a three-year €1.47 million project, including a €1.11 million contribution from the European Regional Development Fund. The project has 13 port and political partners from ten EU countries and Russia.

The partners in Port Integration are:

  • Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, Ministry for Economy and Labour Affairs
  • Hamburg Port Authority
  • Essex County Council and Haven Gateway Partnership
  • Valencia Port Authority
  • Antwerp Port Authority
  • Marseille Fos
  • Port of Hamina
  • Chamber of Commerce of Genoa
  • Municipality of Ancona
  • Port of Tallinn
  • Freeport of Riga Authority
  • Klaipeda State Seaport Authority
  • ROSMORPORT Kaliningrad Branch


For further information, please contact:

Michael Stange

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg,

State Ministry for Economy, Transport and Innovation


Address: Alter Steinweg 4

DE – 20459 Hamburg

phone: +49 40 42841 2093

e-mail: [email protected]

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