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FAL Seminar 2013


JUNE 4th – 7th, 2013



The Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping hosted a regional seminar on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic with emphasis on Trade Facilitation (FAL). The seminar was organized by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and ran from June 4th to June 7th, 2013 at the Jolly Beach Resort and Spa. The opening ceremony took place at 9am on Tuesday June 4th 2013 in the Hibiscus Room and all critical agencies from Antigua and Barbuda were represented.

The aim of the seminar was to assist Governments in the process of ratifying as well as improving the implementation of the FAL convention in the region.  The objective was to enhance the understanding of participants of the concept, the processes and procedures that are involved in the use of electronic data interchange and the implementation of the single window in maritime transport.  The seminar also provided information on setting up a single window system and how it enables information to be provided to multiple users through a single report.  This facilitates trade, decreases the administrative burden on the shipmaster and improves the information flow with port authorities and government agencies concerned.

Thirty Six delegates representing fourteen countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago) participated and have the benefit of spirited and in depth discussions.

Ambassador Dwight Gardiner, Director and Registrar General at the Department of Marine Services and Merchant Shipping welcomed the attendees and included a brief outline of the tenets of the FAL convention with emphasis on the cooperative approach that will have to be taken by the respective agencies.  The Honorable Prime Minister delivered the key note speech and outlined initiatives being taken by the Antigua and Barbuda Government to increase the efficiency of the process required with respect to the arrival and departure of ships.

He encouraged the delegates to go back to their respective countries and participate in the technical work that will be required to ensure that their Governments are aware of the benefits to be derived from adopting the FAL convention.