The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) has expanded its membership criteria so that Single Window Operators can now enjoy the benefits of becoming members. This is an important step forward, recognising the common ground between Port Community Associations (PCSs) and Single Window Operators in trade facilitation.
As part of this move, IPCSA has led the way in issuing a clear definition of a Single Window Operator.
“To date, our membership has included air and sea Port Community System operators together with air and sea port authorities, and our associate members include regional and international organisations and associations,” said Richard Morton, secretary general of IPCSA.
“However, as IPCSA has grown, it has become clear that some of our members are also Single Window Operators. Port Community Systems (PCSs) and Single Windows have a lot in common; it is all about electronic exchange and re-use of information. As such, we considered it was time for IPCSA to expand its criteria for membership to include Single Window Operators.”
The decision to expand membership in this way threw up a new challenge for IPCSA – the lack of any established definition of a Single Window Operator.
Hans Rook, chairman of IPCSA, said: “As an international association, IPCSA has stepped out in front with its clear definition of a Single Window Operator.”
A Single Window Operator is: The organisation that has the legal responsibility for implementation and operation of a Single Window within a country or region and which operates the Single Window within that remit, whereby the Single Window allows parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents.
Another reason for expanding IPCSA membership to Single Window Operators is that many PCSs, particularly outside Europe, started out as Port Community Systems or Community Systems and subsequently developed into Trade Single Windows, said Hans Rook.
One of IPCSA’s present members, Jalal Benhayoun, managing director of PORTNET, added: “Expanding IPCSA membership to include Single Window Operators is an important step forward for IPCSA. This will enable Port Community System Operators and Single Window Operators to exchange and share their knowledge and expertise, ultimately to provide better trade facilitation.”
Richard Morton concluded: “IPCSA is committed to a global exchange and sharing of experience and knowledge, and our expanded membership will support that commitment. At the same time, an expanded membership will support IPCSA’s initiatives to share and exchange data globally in order to create transparency and efficiency in the supply chain.”