Seychelles inches closer to becoming compliant with IMO regulations |28 March 2023
Seychelles is inching closer to becoming compliant with the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) regulations by the January 2024 deadline, with the launch of the Port Victoria Management Information System (PVMIS) project.
The project, which comprises two main components – the Administrations Management Information System applicable to the internal processes, and the communal Port Operations Management Information System – will serve to digitalise manual port documentations and operations, and give Seychelles a Maritime Single Window (MSW) platform.
The IMO has declared that by January 1, 2024, it will be compulsory for all ports around the world to operate MSWs, for the electronic exchange of information required on ships’ arrival at a port, their stay, and departure.
The project was officially launched during a ceremony at the Seychelles Ports Authority (SPA) headquarters, Port Victoria yesterday morning.
Digitalising port operations has been a key element of the SPA’s strategic plan for well over a decade, chief executive Sony Payet explained.
The PVMIS project also compliments the Port Victoria extension project which seeks to modernise port facilities and infrastructure.
By automating much of the manual tasks and information collected by the SPA, the system will provide the SPA and connected agencies precise information on vessel movements, and operations such as that of cargo vessels, cruise ships and leisure boats among others.
Having access to such data will also facilitate the decision-making process, improve efficiency for all stakeholders, improve cargo-terminal management while also improving inter-agency communication.
“It is important that we keep ourselves abreast of modern technologies, so as to render our port more efficient, thus saving time on all the procedures which are now being undertaken through papers,” CEO Payet said.
“We need to proceed in this direction as it is the perfect way to encourage and promote business growth, making the process more efficient and effective at all levels, which will in return save costs,” Mr Payet stated.
The first phase which comprises a Business Mapping process by Consultant AfricaRise is to kick off this week with stakeholders. Through this phase, the consultants will be seeking to establish what procedures are currently in place, to be followed by an evaluation, and subsequently, validation. In addition, AfricaRise has been tasked with change management and the communication strategy. This part is being funded by the European Union (EU).
The final product is to be developed and deployed by InfoPort together with 4SH, the former with whom the SPA has a memorandum of understanding (MoU).
The Cargo Community System (CCS) will be similar and based off the existing SIMAR solution implemented in Reunion island, but will be adapted to the specificities of Seychelles and the SPA.
A basic version is expected to be operational by the Port’s 50th anniversary in October, while the extended version is expected to be up and running by the year end. New features and modules will be added as required over the coming years.
Deputy CEO of the SPA, Egbert Moustache, is chairing a committee established to oversee the project. He noted that Seychelles and the Comoros are the only ports in the region who are yet to implement the system.
The development of the digital platform is costing the SPA around €400,000, a price which is substantially lower than what other companies had proposed. This is inclusive of the platform and eight additional modules, namely, imports and exports, fisheries, berth planning, and cargo tracking modules, among others.
Seychelles will be receiving free assistance to support the system for two-years following implementation.
“The project has been in the SPA’s budget for the past four years, but was delayed due to the Covid pandemic,” Mr Moustache said.
“There is a regional effort in the Indian Ocean to have a regional single window, and this is being pushed by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC). But in order to establish this, all national single windows must be implemented,” Mr Moustache added.
The port authority, shipping companies, handlers, freight forwarders, customs and stevedores are among the stakeholders who will benefit from the CCS.
Text & photos by Laura Pillay