Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group holds its Global Cruise Ship Workshop

16 July 2021

Following the successful first meeting of the Passenger Facilitation and Control Working Group (PFCWG) in April 2021, a Global Cruise Ship Workshop was held virtually from 5 to 9 July 2021. Over 200 participants representing 50 Members and other international organizations registered for the Workshop.  The goal of the Workshop was to launch the development of a global data standard similar to aviation’s Advance Passenger Information/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) for the maritime environment and the development of a Best Practices Compendium. In addition to these two top priorities that are set out in the TOR of PFCWG, delegates discussed how Customs can support reopening borders and the resumption of international travel.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Pranab Kumar Das, WCO Director of Compliance and Facilitation, emphasized the significant role this Global Workshop would play in providing an important opportunity to discuss and to support the recovery of global economy, by managing the movement of passengers through the use of data and technology and by exploring how Customs administrations could support the resumption of international travel.

During the Workshop, participants discussed the basic nature and purpose of API/PNR, the structure of data elements and the results of the Maritime Passenger Survey conducted in February. Building on that discussion, delegates deliberated the data format currently being used for reporting various types of advance information in order to develop an international standard for advance information reporting for the maritime environment. Participants also had in-depth discussions dedicated to development of possible data elements for API and PNR like data standards for the maritime environment.  The discussion was guided by Mr. David Dodson from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Mr. Simon Watkin from UK Border Force.

In addition to the two top priority topics, participants had an intense discussion on bio security related issues. While not directly applicable to all Members, some Members showed an interest in obtaining bio security related data to support activities aimed as securing their borders and bolstering economic recovery.  It was acknowledged that other international organizations should be further consulted to ensure due diligence in harmonizing data standards across the board.

The Workshop also benefitted from both valuable and informative presentations from the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the United Nations Office of Counter Terrorism (UNOCT) relating to maritime passenger issues, such as the movement toward the standardization of single window reporting and comprehensive studies of existing systems and standards through engagement with the private sector. These presentations emphasized the need for close collaboration amongst all international organizations in developing an API/PNR like maritime data standard.

The WCO looks forward to sharing the results of this workshop with industry at an upcoming virtual meeting in August.  This meeting will be hosted by the WCO, IMO and UNOCT.