Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group successfully holds its First Meeting

20 April 2021

The First Meeting of the Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group (PFCWG) took place virtually from 8 to 9 April 2021, based on the endorsement of the Terms of Reference at the 83rd Session of the Policy Commission and the 137th Session of the Council in December 2020, with overwhelming Members support in light of the significance of this Group with a strong linkage to COVID-19 pandemic issues.

The PFCWG was opened by the WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya.  In his Opening Remarks, he stressed that, as one of the key priorities discussed at the last Policy Commission and Council, the PFCWG is expected to play a vital role in establishing a solid foundation for the renewal and resilience of Customs passenger procedures as the ToR tasks the PFCWG to produce the identified key deliverables, including development of a global data standard for cruise ships as first priority and development of a Compendium of Best Practices in the cruise ship environment.  He invited delegates to engage in active and intensive discussions in the PFCWG meetings so as to develop WCO tools on maritime passengers and to support the recovery of global economy, by managing the movement of passengers with the use of data and technology and seeking the possible function of Customs administrations to support the resumption of international travel.  At the end of his speech, he underlined that Passenger facilitation and control can’t be achieved without reliable cooperation with stakeholders, thus, the PFCWG needs to ensure to the extent possible that Customs and external actors work together in this important task.

The PFCWG elected Mr. Paul Campbell from New Zealand as its Chairperson, and Dr. Maryam Ali Ahashmi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as its Vice-Chairperson, followed by the Adoption of the Agenda.

Over 150 delegates representing around 70 WCO Members and 10 other international organizations actively participated in the discussions on the key issues including developments and challenges in the Maritime passenger environment, Compendium of Best Practices, API and PNR data standard for cruise ships, and “Bio-Secure Borders” with Australian’ green paper.  The Group received informative and enlightening presentations from the other international organizations, namely the International Maritime Organization, the International Association of Ports and Harbors, Cruise Lines International Association, the Royal Caribbean Group, the UN Office of Counter Terrorism, the World Health Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association.

The Group decided to extend the deadline of Maritime passenger online survey and invite members to submit their national experience by the end of April 2021 in order to gain further contribution from members.

The PFWWG also discussed the draft Work Plan along with the consensus to conduct intersessional work for further development of the Compendium and the global data standards for cruise ships in advance of the next PFCWG in autumn 2021.