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IMO makes STM innovation an international standard

Container ship in port

IMO makes STM innovation an international standard

Published: July 05, 2023

Route sharing will make shipping more efficient and reduce the environmental footprint.

With route sharing, both ports and ships can plan better. Fewer ships need to queue at the ports, they can slow down and sail more economically when they know exactly what time they should arrive at ports. In addition, ships’ time in ports can be reduced and the flow of goods can become even more efficient.

The STM route sharing solution looks like it will become a reality. The Swedish Maritime Administration (SMA) was involved in developing the solution and the proposal to IMO.

– Route sharing is the biggest technical innovation in shipping that SMA has been involved in and developed since the AIS transponders in the late 1990s, says Magnus Wallhagen, head of international work at SMA.

Today, the principle in most ports is that the ship that arrives at the port first gets to load and unload its goods first. If more ships arrive at approximately the same time, the others have to wait outside the port if there is no capacity to handle more at the same time. This makes planning very difficult for ships and for all port operators.

In May, NCSR, a subcommittee within IMO, the UN’s maritime body, decided to approve the EU proposal for route sharing.

The proposal will be formally decided in the IMO’s safety committee the coming spring.

​- This means that the international regulations for shipping will change. Route sharing between ships and land actors will thus become a new world standard. It is a big win both for the industry and for the climate, says Magnus Wallhagen.

The areas of use extend beyond arrival optimization.

VTS centers will have more information and can provide improved safety services. In Sweden, where the ice spreads in the north during the winter months, suitable routes through an ice area can be sent out to the ships so that they can go longer distances without icebreaker assistance or risk getting stuck in ice. During rescue efforts, a suggested search pattern can be sent out to the ship’s navigation system to optimize the search for missing persons.



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