How is the MSW organised in Belgium?

What is MSW?

The Maritime Single Window (MSW) is a secure electronic mailbox for lodging reports on maritime transport into and out of a port to the competent authorities. An example is reporting the crew list to the shipping police or the reporting of dangerous and polluting materials to the port authority services. Previously, this was done via paper, fax and/or email. Now, according to the European Directive 2010/65/EU, this must be done via a single electronic platform.

Why is there a MSW?

The aim is to reduce administrative burdens, thereby supporting maritime transport. The core of the Directive is the ‘reporting once’ principle. One electronic message to the MSW supersedes the earlier declarations on paper/fax, e-mail. The MSW distributes the information to all competent authorities.

How is it organised in Belgium?

Several options were considered and Belgium has decided to build the MSW around the existing port systems. The “Central Broker System” (CBS) and the “Federal Service Bus” (FSB) are responsible for the exchange of information with the competent authorities.

In the port information systems, many other functions are developed including all local orders and requests to bring a vessel safely into port such as hangers, tugboats, boatswains, exact mooring specifications, work authorisations, general services such as cranes, etc. The solution chosen has the advantage that the agent can continue working in their familiar surroundings.

Efforts have been made to harmonize the port information systems regarding the reporting formalities as far as possible.

What does the MSW mean for the shipping agent?

The shipping agent will continue to play a crucial role in the sea voyage. The one-time and electronic reporting will reduce the shipping agent’s administrative burden.

Based on the Directive, which messages should be sent electronically?

The following formalities must be reported electronically: Notification for ships calling at and departing from ports of EU Member States and exit ports (FAL1: General Declaration);
• Port State Control: 72u- pre-application;
• ANNEX 5 Crew List and the provisions of the Schengen Border Code;
• FAL6: Passenger List and the provisions of the Schengen Border Code;
• List of stowaways in accordance with FAL6;
• Travel route of a cruise ship;
• Notification of dangerous or polluting substances on board (FAL 7: Dangerous goods);
• Notification of ship-generated waste and cargo residues;
• Notification of security information. This is the ISPS form;
• Maritime Declaration of Health (Maritime Declaration of Health, MDH)

All existing obligations required by the authorities and port authority services remain in application.

Does the MSW impose extra reporting formalities?

No, the Directive does not impose new reporting formalities, it is only stated that existing reports which were previously lodged on the basis of existing legislation must now go through the MSW electronically and once only;

Should we only report things in the port information systems which are a requirement for MSW?

No, the reporting formalities set out in the Reporting Formality Directive (RDF) are only intended to make a list of what the Directive requires. Existing obligations continue to apply.

What does electronic reporting mean?

This is data reported once and then made available to various competent authorities. These messages arrive in a structured database.

Is it fully secure?

All ICT systems are technically secured. The notifications are only sent to the competent authorities. Commercially sensitive information is not shared with other reporting parties and the handling of personal data is carried out with respect to privacy laws.

In what format do the messages arrive in the MSW?

a. In a first phase two methods are foreseen:
1. Manual reporting recorded in the port systems;
2. Through the downloading of information from structured files. Within the AnNa there is a pilot project on downloading via Excel files.

b. In the next phase there will potentially be additional mechanisms foreseen:
• Using a machine to machine connection, so information sent from a different system (eg. by the ship operator) in the port information system.
• Information exchanged between the ports [LINK to exchanges between the port systems]
• Information exchanged with other Member States through SSN [LINK]);
• Information exchanged with other Member States through the MSW2MSW mechanism.

Does this mean reporting once per port or once per country?ie

In a first version of the MSW all reports will have to be reported per port, with the exception of the Maritime Declaration of Health. This will be once per country, so reporting should be done at the first port of call. The agent will still be able to report it again at the next Belgian port.

Is there an exchange of information between the Belgian ports?

This is not yet planned in the initial version of the MSW.

Is there information that is sent to more than one authority?

Yes, for example the voyage route, the last ten ports, which should be reported as part of ISPS and reference data, such as the IMO number and vessel name, are sent to all parties.

Is there an exchange of information between EU Member States?

Certain information must be reported to SafeSeaNet. Via SSN, information may be retrieved by another Member State in case of an accident, for example with dangerous and polluting substances that have been reported.

Should all fields, as they appear on the forms, also be completed?

No, there is a document drawn up by the government together with the port authority which is binding for the Belgian MSW. It states which fields are mandatory.

What is the difference between the MSW and the NSW?

The Customs authority is conducting a study on a ‘National Single Window’ (NSW). Between the NSW and MSW there are some differences, but there are also major similarities.
a. Similarities:
• Both systems share the same principle, namely: information sharing between authorities;
• They are both integration projects, i.e. no completely new ICT system but the linking of existing systems;
b. Differences:
• The NSW refers not only to maritime transport;
• In the context of the MSW there is also an exchange of information that is not relevant for the NSW and vice versa.