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European maritime single window prototype


In 2015, the EU Commission launched the eManifest pilot project, with the support of EMSA, and in consultation with Member States and the shipping industry.

The overall objective of the pilot project was to test procedures that would simplify the submission of information required by different authorities for cargo formalities with the aim to facilitate and reduce the administrative burden for ship data providers. Through this pilot project, a harmonised eManifest which encompasses data required in a number of cargo related formalities required by maritime and customs authorities was developed and tested. The project also aimed at assessing whether the exchange of the eManifest data via SafeSeaNet could minimise reporting obligations for ships trading between EU ports and how ship and cargo tracking could be carried out.

Considering the limited budget and time available, the project was not intended to elaborate a proper legal framework nor to present a specific solution to be implemented by all EU Member States.

The European Maritime Single Window (EMSW) Prototype

EMSA developed a European Maritime Single Window prototype to test how the eManifest data could be reported along with other reporting formalities in a harmonised manner, submitted to the relevant authorities and exchanged among Member States.

The prototype covered the complete information flows between the ship data providers (e.g. ship agent, master, ship operator) and the relevant public authorities covering the port of call. The prototype was also used to assess how the reporting information could be exchanged between Member States via SafeSeaNet.

A general layout showing the data flows between the various actors is presented below:


 NSW general infographic 0.2 ama 01

Ship Data Providers fulfilled the reporting formalities by using a harmonised user interface where information could be recorded manually or by uploading spreadsheet files. Data providers could also submit the information directly from their own ICT systems by using the prototype’s system interface.

The information submitted was distributed to the relevant authorities depending on its content and on the port of call. Decisions and feedback recorded by authorities were subsequently communicated back to ship data providers via both the user and system interfaces.

Project's results

The project resulted in:

  • The description of the eManifest, consisting of a harmonised data set and message structures covering information required by customs and maritime authorities at the arrival and departure of the ship and information communicated back to the data providers by the authorities,
  • The definition of the corresponding rules and principles to be applied when implementing the eManifest in an MSW, and
  • The EMSW Prototype which was used to demonstrate how such dataset, messages, rules and principles could be implemented.

The design of the Prototype was based on business rules and system requirements elaborated by the Commission and EMSA in coordination with the participating Member State and shipping industry representatives.

The eManifest pilot project brought together the maritime and customs experts who joined their expertise to define what a harmonised electronic cargo manifest should include in terms of data, what formalities could be fulfilled by the submission of the eManifest and how it could be submitted together with the other reporting information required by the RFD in a harmonised manner through a Maritime Single Window to maritime and customs authorities.

The project was considered as a success because it delivered concrete and tangible results. The results of the eManifest pilot project would therefore be a relevant basis for the implementation of a future actual EMSW. Additional developments of the eManifest concept would be needed to address issues such as the retrieval and reuse of data from Entry Summary Declarations previously lodged in the customs systems and the exchange of data via SafeSeaNet.